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A Nobel Prize-winning scientist has resigned from University College London after not getting a lot of traction for basically saying he gets a funny feeling in his pants when he works in the same lab with women.
Tim Hunt, a 72-year-old chauvinist and English biochemist who was awarded the Nobel in physiology and medicine, said at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, that he was in favor of single-sex labs (there actually isn't such a thing, by the way)—his generous solution for not standing in the way of women in science yet being able to avoid the dreaded science lab hard-on.
"Let me tell you about my trouble with girls," he said at the convention of senior female scientists and science journalists. "Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry."
Women in science wasted no time in thrilling the rest of us with clever tweets demonstrating what Hunt was trying to explain to the gals in the audience—who for all we know, were falling in love with him. And crying. Their response is as heartening as it is hilarious and something we should all share with our young daughters in case they thought the terms "Nobel Laureate" and "decent human" necessarily overlapped.
The I Fucking Love Science blog collected some of the best tweets mocking Hunt's rather anecdotal for a scientist findings:
The University College London announced Hunt, an Honorary Professor with the university's Faculty of Life Sciences, had resigned, "following comments he made about women in science." No word on how hard his female colleagues were crying.
"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 statement added.
Which is exactly why these hilarious tweeting scientists should be awarded, well, noble prizes (see what I did there?)—for being smart and funny and protecting the scientific community from enabling this kind of attitude. Their male colleagues (have we heard from them?) had better be retweeting the hell out of these 140-character bits of genius/activism/entertainment.
Hunt, who won the Nobel for discovering protein molecules that control the division of cells, hasn't spoken publicly yet on this career-ending gaffe. He must be hanging out with lady scientists and dealing with whatever is consequently going on in his pants.