A Nobel Prize–winning biochemist who said earlier this week that he has trouble working with female scientists in the lab has resigned, setting a good example for any man who finds that having women in the workplace is too distracting.
Speaking to an audience of senior female scientists at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul on Tuesday, English Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt said, “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … 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.” He concluded this charming diatribe by asserting that, though of course he “doesn’t want to stand in the way of women,” he is “in favor of single-sex labs.”
Hunt gave a pseudo-apology on the BBC radio yesterday, apologizing for any offense, but adding that he “did mean the part about having trouble with girls” — which, unsurprisingly, did little to quell the backlash to his remarks. The University College London published a statement on its website yesterday confirming that Hunt has resigned from his position as honorary professor at the college’s Faculty of Life Sciences. “UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men,” the college wrote, adding: “The university believes this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality.”