My hero of the week is 72-year old Nobel-prizewinning scientist Sir Tim Hunt who this week went public at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Korea on the three main problems he has encountered during a lifetime working with female scientists:Reality is what it is. And it's not those who think men and women can simply ignore the existence of sex and the inevitable fallout from sexual attraction who are on the side of reality.
“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 criticise them they cry.”
Inevitably this has got him into an awful lot of trouble with the professional offence-taking community, who have variously described him as “extremely irritating”, a “sexist shit” and an “old man”.
But to his credit – and this is what really makes Hunt my hero – he has stuck to his guns. While covering himself with a formulaic non-apology apology (ie expressing sorrow for the “offence caused”) he has so far made no attempt to retract what he said.
Presumably this is because Hunt is one of those old-fashioned, pre-Social-Justice-Warrior-era sorts who believe that a scientist’s job is to tell the truth.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
A Nobel laureate explains the problem: