NASA has banned Chinese scientists, including those working at American institutions, from attending meetings on grounds of national security, The Guardian reports.
NASA officials rejected applications from Chinese nationals who hoped to attend a meeting after a law passed in March which prohibits certain foreign nationals from setting foot in a NASA building.
The ban has angered many American scientists who say the Chinese are being
discriminated against and many have decided to boycott the meeting.
The meeting is being held for people working on NASA’s Kepler space telescope programme, which is the most important event in the academic calendar for scientists who specialize in the field.
Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, called the ban “completely shameful and unethical”.
In an email sent to the conference organisers, Marcy said: “In good conscience, I cannot attend a meeting that discriminates in this way. The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications.”
Chris Lintott, an astronomer at Oxford University, said “I’m shocked and upset by the way this policy has been applied. Science is supposed to be open to all and restricting those who can attend by nationality goes against years of practice, going right back to cold war conferences of Russian and western physicists.”
[Image credit: @laughingsquid]