Is it something in the Bovril?
Tim Hunt, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on cell duplication, was speaking at an invitation-only lunch in honor of women in science. He reportedly opened his talk by saying: “Thanks to the women journalists for making lunch.”
The 72-year-old scientist went on to say that he has a reputation as a chauvinist, and that labs should be segregated by sex. The problem with female scientists? “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry!”
“You” of course are a heterosexual male. Isn’t everyone? Everyone who counts?
Hunt is a member of the Royal Society, which quickly distanced itself from the remarks, first tweeting “Tim Hunt’s comments don’t reflect our views,” and then releasing an official statement.
“The Royal Society believes that in order to achieve everything that it can, science needs to make the best use of the research capabilities of the entire population,” they wrote on their blog.
“Too many talented individuals do not fulfill their scientific potential because of issues such as gender and the Society is committed to helping to put this right. Sir Tim Hunt was speaking as an individual and his reported comments in no way reflect the views of the Royal Society.”
Also, he’s obviously an asshole, and assholery is not part of the mission of the Royal Society.