SciSoc invites sexist UCL exile Sir Tim Hunt to speak
‘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’
Cambridge’s Scientific Society have invited Sir Tim Hunt to speak in the Faculty of Engineering on the 12th of January. The topic of the speech is “his work and career, over which he has won multiple awards, notably in 2001 the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of cyclin”.
Sir Hunt was the subject of controversy last year after his comments on women in STEM brought him to national attention in 2015. At the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea last year, Hunt said, “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.”
In the wake of the outrage following these comments, Sir Hunt resigned from his positions as Honorary Professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences, the Royal Society’s Biological Sciences Awards Committee and ERC. He has since resumed work for the Royal Society.
Hunt says that his comments were “an idiotic joke” and were not meant to be taken seriously in any way. This is supported by the comments of a European Commission official who was present, who said Sir Hunt had continued: “Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea and women scientists played, without doubt, an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”
CUSU Women’s Officer Charlotte Chorley commented: “In 2014, 73% Engineering undergraduate entrants, 86% of Computer Science entrants and 60% of Natural Science entrants were men.
“Cambridge, evidently, has a problem with women in STEM subjects – a problem that is exemplified even in the highest tiers of academia. I find it hard to believe that listening to Tim Hunt, a self-confessed “chauvinist monster”, speak will encourage more women to apply.”
At the time of writing, SciSoc has not responded to The Tab‘s requests for comment.