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British Nobel laureate quits after criticising women

Tim Hunt

“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,” the 72-year-old said, prompting his resignation.


Tim Hunt
Tim Hunt

English scientist Tim Hunt, awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 2001, quit his post at University College London (UCL)  for his comments on the behaviour of women in the science field.

Efe news agency quoted the university as saying that Hunt resigned from his position as honorary professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences “following comments he made about women in science”,

It said the comments were made at a World Conference of Science Journalists on June 9 in South Korea.

“UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality,” the university said.

Hunt’s comments, for which the scientist apologised on Wednesday but proclaimed to still agree with, sparked a barrage of criticism from scientific and research institutions.

Hunt told the BBC that his statements were meant to be humorous, but acknowledged that it was “a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists”.

“It is true that people — 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 science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field,” he said. “I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.”