A Nobel prize-winning scientist has apologised after he told sexist anecdotes at a conference for top women boffins in South Korea.
Sir Tim Hunt, who has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1991, utterly misjudged his audience with these ridiculous comments:
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 criticise them, they cry.
The Nobel Laureate, who was awarded the prize in Physiology or Medicine with Lee Hartwell and Paul Nurse for their discoveries of “key regulators of the cell cycle” in 2001, went on to tell the gathered crowd that he was "in favour of single-sex labs".
City University London's science journalism programme director Connie St Louis tweeted Hunt's dubious remarks on Monday.
By this morning, 72-year-old Sir Tim – who sounded more like a tech bro than a leading scientist at the conference – had apologised. But he went on to tell BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was deadly serious "about having trouble with girls". He added:
I mean it is true that I have fallen in love with people in the lab, and the 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 the lab, people are on a level playing field and I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.
Hunt said he was "really, really sorry" about any offence caused and said "I just meant to be honest, actually."
The biochemist later claimed that he had been attempting to be humorous during his talk at the conference.
“I’m very sorry that what I thought were light hearted ironic remarks were taken so seriously, and I’m very sorry if people took offence. I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather be honest about my own shortcomings," he said, according to the Graun. ®