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.