Jeff Schmidt is a
A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe.
Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate caus ...
who wrote the 2000 book ''Disciplined Minds'', a critique of the socialization and training of professionals.
Termination of employment controversy
Schmidt was fired
from his job of 19 years as an associate editor for ''
''Physics Today'' is the membership magazine of the American Institute of Physics. First published in May 1948, it is issued on a monthly schedule, and is provided to the members of ten physics societies, including the American Physical Society. I ...
'', the magazine of the
American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) promotes science and the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies. Its corpora ...
(AIP), on allegations that he wrote the book on his employer's time. The book starts: "This book was stolen. Written in part on stolen time, that is." Schmidt contended, however, that he was fired for "protesting discriminatory hiring practices" at AIP, and that the "stolen time" quotation was an exaggerated allusion to
A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, sometimes diametrically opposed to mainstream cultural mores.Eric Donald Hirsch. ''The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy''. Hou ...
Abbot Howard "Abbie" Hoffman (November 30, 1936 – April 12, 1989) was an American political and social activist who co-founded the Youth International Party ("Yippies") and was a member of the Chicago Seven. He was also a leading propone ...
, who wrote '' Steal This Book
''. He added that "writing this radical book during break time in the office felt like stealing time because the ideas that I was expressing seemed so out of place with the corporate-type
An atmosphere () is a layer of gas or layers of gases that envelop a planet, and is held in place by the gravity of the planetary body. A planet retains an atmosphere when the gravity is great and the temperature of the atmosphere is low. A ...
of the office."
Schmidt's firing led to a public campaign, with 750 physicists and academics, including
Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American public intellectual: a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called "the father of modern linguistics", Chomsky i ...
, signing a letter supporting Schmidt.
The public campaign in turn led to a legal case, carried by Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
, a law firm specializing in
Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation, or judicial interpretation, without due process. Though the scope of the term differs between countries, civil liberties m ...
, that produced an undisclosed financial settlement
for Schmidt, including anti-discrimination policy changes at AIP.
even though AIP did not admit any wrongdoing, it admitted that Schmidt "consistently received positive job reviews
" and rehired Schmidt, who immediately
Resignation is the formal act of leaving or quitting one's office or position. A resignation can occur when a person holding a position gained by election or appointment steps down, but leaving a position upon the expiration of a term, or choos ...
Author's pageReview from zmag
American magazine editors
21st-century American physicists
American science writers
Place of birth missing (living people)