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Statement from Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez about His New Position at Ball State University


Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez has issued a statement about his new position as a faculty member at Ball State University in Indiana:

I am very happy to join the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University. As I communicated to members of the department during my interviews, I plan to continue my research on astrobiology and stellar astrophysics. I will not be discussing intelligent design (ID) in my classes (I didn't discuss ID at ISU either). My view that there is evidence of design in physics and cosmology (the type of design I have written about) is not out of the mainstream; a number of cosmologists and physicists hold to this view. In my opinion, the controversy surrounding my hire is artificial -- largely generated by one activist blogger who is not an astronomer. Lastly, I need to reiterate that I was denied tenure at ISU not because of poor academics on my part, but for ideological and political reasons.

The hiring of Gonzalez by Ball State has inspired various anti-intelligent design bloggers to recirculate completely false information about Iowa State University's denial of tenure to Gonzalez in 2007. For an account of what really happened at Iowa State, I encourage people to read our backgrounder. One of the key paragraphs:

He has published more peer-reviewed journal articles than all but one of the faculty�members granted tenure this year at ISU -- across the university as a whole, not just his�department. In fact, Gonzalez has more peer-reviewed journal articles to his credit than all but five faculty members granted tenure at�ISU since 2003. In addition, he exceeded his�department's own tenure standards, which define "excellence" in terms of publications in�refereed science journals, by more than 350%...In 2006, the year he was up for tenure, Gonzalez published�more total articles than all other tenured ISU�astronomers. Moreover, Dr. Gonzalez has more per-capita citations in science journals and per-capita scientific publications than any other tenured astronomer�at ISU since 2001, the year he�joined ISU. In other words, Gonzalez outperformed the very astronomers that voted against his�tenure... Meanwhile, his work has been featured in the world's most prestigious science journals, Nature�in 2002 and�Science�in 2004. He co-authored a cover story for�Scientific American in 2001, and he is co-author of a 2006 peer-reviewed Cambridge University Press textbook, Observational Astronomy. He is clearly impacting the next�generation of scientists, as his ideas�about the Galactic Habitable Zone have even been incorporated into two astronomy textbooks by�other authors.

Image: The Cosmic Hearth/NASA.