Bri­tish No­bel lau­re­ate re­signs over re­marks about ‘girls’ in labs

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bri­tish No­bel Prize-win­ning sci­en­tist Tim Hunt has re­signed from his post at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don over con­tro­ver­sial com­ments he made about fe­male sci­en­tists.

Hunt has apol­o­gized for caus­ing of­fence af­ter his sug­ges­tion Tues­day that fe­male sci­en­tists could not take crit­i­cism with­out cry­ing and that re­la­tion­ships be­tween men and women in the lab­o­ra­tory dis­rupted work.

The 72-year-old said his com­ments, made at a lunch for women at­tend­ing the World Con­fer­ence of Science Jour­nal­ists in South Korea, were in­tended to be light-hearted but also “hon­est.”

Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don said in a state­ment that Hunt had re­signed from his po­si­tion as hon­orary pro­fes­sor with the UCL Fac­ulty of Life Sciences fol­low­ing the re­marks.

“UCL was the first uni­ver­sity in Eng­land to ad­mit women stu­dents on equal terms to men, and the uni­ver­sity be­lieves that this out­come is com­pat­i­ble with our com­mit­ment to gen­der equal­ity,” it said.

Hunt, who shared the 2001 No­bel Prize in Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine for the dis­cov­ery of pro­tein mol­e­cules that con­trol the di­vi­sion of cells, holds other posts.

“Let me tell you about my trou­ble with girls,” he was re­ported as say- ing in South Korea.

“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.”

The 72-year-old also called him­self a “chau­vin­ist pig.”

Speak­ing to BBC ra­dio on Wed­nes­day, he ad­mit­ted mak­ing the com­ments but added: “I’m re­ally sorry that I said what I said. It was a very stupid thing to do.

“What was in­tended as a sort of light-hearted, ironic com­ment was ap­par­ently in­ter­preted deadly se­ri­ously.

“It’s ter­ri­bly im­por­tant that you can crit­i­cize peo­ple’s ideas with­out crit­i­ciz­ing them and if they burst into tears it means that you tend to hold back from get­ting at the ab­so­lute truth.

“Any­thing that gets in the way of that di­min­ishes, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, the science.”

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