1. Nobel laureate Tim Hunt: The new symbol for ‘sexism’ in science

Nobel laureate Tim Hunt: The new symbol for ‘sexism’ in science

Nobel prizewinner Sir Tim Hunt's comment about facing three problems with girls in science laboratories ignited a global firestorm of criticism and made him the new symbol of "sexism" in science.

By: | Published: June 24, 2015 11:15 PM

Nobel prizewinner Sir Tim Hunt’s comment about facing three problems with girls in science laboratories ignited a global firestorm of criticism and made him the new symbol of “sexism” in science.

The 72-year-old stated in a speech at the 2015 World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul that trouble with girls in the lab was that they have the tendency to fall in love with men or vice-versa and when criticise them, they cry, the Guardian reported.

However, eight Nobel prizewinners, scientists and politicians came to the defense of Sir Hunt and warned of a chilling effect on academics’ freedom to speak their minds after he was forced to resign his honorary post at University College London amid pressure from social media users.

Sir Andre Geim, of the University of Manchester who shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 2010 said that the British biochemist had been “crucified” by ideological fanatics, and castigated UCL for “ousting” him.

On the contrary, award-winning freelance journalist Connie St Louis urged the Nobel eight including Richard Dawkins, Brian Cox and Boris Johnson to stop distracting people away from the real issue and put their energy and status into action, as now is the time for radical change and action because women have had enough.

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    Steve Ayres
    Jun 25, 2015 at 5:28 am
    1) Tim Hunt made a jocular observation that men and women working together in labs can be emotionally distracting for both es. Indeed, he met his own wife whilst working in the lab! (hence the deliberate irony in his comment) 2) Tim Hunt's joke references his personal experience: a problem he has had, working in labs in the past, is that women tend to cry more when confronted with criticism. Nevertheless he fully supports women in science. “No one seems to mention his main speech in Korea in which, according to the ERC President, he was ‘very supportive towards women in science and he said that he hoped there was nothing that barred women from science’” (Dame Athene Donald). 3) After making his joke, Sir Tim continued: "Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists pla, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me." Please follow the link below to read more on Sir Tim's story and, if you agree, sign the peion to help reinstate Sir Tim Hunt: We have almost 1500 signatures so far, including comments by feminists, professors and former colleagues of Sir Tim. Please share this peion on Facebook and spread knowledge of it so we can hit our target of 2000 signatures!
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    YAH
    Jun 25, 2015 at 9:30 am
    I think everyone has to stop pushing this so much, the guy gives his life to science. Works the labs and knows the consequences. I've worked labs and crying among females happens more often. Everyone needs to drop the PC. stance of things in life and focus on the goal of science and allow people like Tim to work. Yes his message is a bit off the collar but it's not like he's a PR person. Leave the poor man alone and allow him to work on what he's good at Science! we need people like him.
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    Paul Forsythe
    Jun 25, 2015 at 2:52 am
    Why still running this ? It has already been shown that the statement was taken out of context. In context it was part of a mild joke within a speech that was actually praising women in science and trying to encourage more women into science. Internet again destroying a guys retion for the sake of a few clicks.....
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