SCIENCE

Female Scientists Respond Brilliantly To Biochemist Calling Women Distractions [UPDATE]

English biochemist, the Nobel-prize winner Sir Richard Timothy 'Tim' Hunt meets with the press at the Jozsef Attila Study and
English biochemist, the Nobel-prize winner Sir Richard Timothy 'Tim' Hunt meets with the press at the Jozsef Attila Study and Information Centre of Szeged Sciences University in Szegede on March 22, 2012, during an international conference series held on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Hungarian Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s Nobel Prize Award. The event be attended by nine Nobel Laureates and nearly 1000 scientific researchers from all over the world. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi received the nobel prize in Phisiology or Medecine in 1937 for discovering, among other things, vitamin C and the compontents and reactions of the citric acid cycle. AFP PHOTO / CSABA SEGESVARI (Photo credit should read CSABA SEGESVARI/AFP/Getty Images)

After asserting that female scientists should be segregated from their male peers because they distract them, fall in love with them and cry, British biochemist Tim Hunt issued a half-hearted apology Wednesday -- and women in science are letting him have it.

Hunt, 72, a Nobel Prize winner and fellow with the United Kingdom's prestigious Royal Society science body, came under fire this week for advocating for single-sex labs in a speech at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea,

"Three things happen when [women] are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry," said Hunt.

Following a backlash, Hunt went on BBC radio Wednesday morning to say he's "really, really sorry" for offending people but that he was just telling it like it is.

"I did mean the part about having trouble with girls," he said. "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."

Inequality for women in science is a chronic problem. In 2012, researchers at Yale found that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to favor a young male scientist over a woman with nearly identical qualifications and are more willing to offer the man a job, the New York Times noted. Researchers in the study observed that when women got hired, their salaries averaged nearly $4,000 less than what men are paid.

"Girls" in the science community meanwhile responded brilliantly to Hunt's lunacy on Twitter.

UPDATE - June 11, 2015: Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tim Hunt has apologized for his remarks at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea, but stands by his assertion that mixed-gender labs are disruptive. On Wednesday, he resigned from his honorary post at University College London, The Associated Press reported.

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