Female scientists took to Twitter this week to fire back at a Nobel laureate who said he was in favor of sex-segregated labs because women are distracting and “fall in love with you” and cry “when you criticize them.”
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tim Hunt made his comments Monday during a speech at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea.
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Hunt said at the conference. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”
Female scientists responded to Hunt’s sexist comments by uploading photos of themselves using the hashtag “#DistractinglySexy.”
— Michelle LaRue (@drmichellelarue) June 12, 2015
— Sarah Hammarlund (@s_hammarlund) June 11, 2015
— Lorene Lynn (@lorenelynn) June 12, 2015
— Nermeen Youssef (@Cleo2atra) June 11, 2015
— Jennifer Pournelle (@jpournelle) June 12, 2015
— Jennifer Pannell (@jennypannell) June 11, 2015
— Norah Brown (@norahebrown) June 12, 2015
Professor Sophie Scott at University College London, where Hunt was an honorary professor, tweeted that she couldn’t do her “science work” after seeing a photo of Hunt and falling in love.
— Prof Sophie Scott (@sophiescott) June 10, 2015
On Wednesday, Hunt, a Royal Society fellow, explained his earlier comments in an interview with the BBC.
“I did mean the part about having trouble with girls,” he said. “It is true that people – I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.”
Hunt who suggested men and women shouldn’t work in the same labs said he “found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.”
The biochemist, who said he “did mean” what he’d said about females scientists, apologized during the interview.
“I’m really, really sorry I caused any offense, that’s awful,” Hunt said. “I certainly didn’t mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually.”
The 72-year-old Hunt resigned Thursday from his position as an honorary professor at University College London, according to The New York Times.
h/t Daily Kos