Most US professors are trained at same few elite universities – Nature

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US universities hire most of their tenure-track faculty members from the same handful of elite institutions, according to a study. The finding suggests that prestige is overvalued in hiring decisions and that academic researchers have little opportunity to obtain jobs at institutions considered more elite than the ones at which they were trained.

“Is the system a meritocracy?” asks Daniel Larremore, a computational scientist at UC Boulder who is a co-author . “In peer review, no; in the spread of ideas, no; and in faculty hiring, surely no.”

Are mothers too easy to blame? – Nature book review

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Rachel Yehuda’s 2016 study claimed that the children of Holocaust survivors have epigenetic changes at a particular site in the genome, and those changes make them more susceptible to stress. Yehuda’s study has been criticized often for its small sample size, tiny control group and outsize claims of causality. Sarah Richardson’s book The Maternal Imprint broadens this criticism to the field of human transgenerational epigenetics more generally. She argues that social assumptions about maternal responsibility lend ideas in this field more credibility than they deserve on the basis of the data.