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Nobel laureate apologizes for comments on female scientists

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The 72-year old scientist Tim Hunt, who won the Nobel Prize for physiology in 2001, has apologized after causing outrage for an ill-advised comment on women scientists. Speaking to a conference, he told the audience he had a reputation for being a “chauvinist,” adding, “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 went on to say that he favors single-sex labs but also “did not want to stand in the way of women.” Right. He soon learned that is not exactly the kind of message you want to deliver when addressing a convention of senior female scientists and science journalists in South Korea. One of the attendees, Conny St. Louis, director of the science journalism program at City University London, tweeted out his remarks commenting, “Really, does this Nobel laureate think we are still in Victorian times?” On Wednesday, Hunt went on BBC Radio 4’s Today show to apologize, saying he meant the remarks to be humorous – but insisted that he meant the part about having trouble with girls. “It is true … 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. I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult. I’m really, really sorry I caused any offence, that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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