Scientists are pretty cool, when you really stop and think about it. These men and women help our world evolve and grow, leading the way forward into the future. They’re the ones searching for cures for horrible diseases, working on programmes for renewable energy, trying to get us into space, or even just impressing us with cool experiments – don’t act like you didn’t love holding magnesium over a bunsen burner in school and watching it burst into white hot flames.
Unfortunately, it seems as though some scientists aren’t as cool as their science loving buddies, as we found out earlier this week. At a conference in Seoul on Monday, British scientist Sir Tim Hunt, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine back in 2001, pissed a lot of people off when he went up to give a speech.
Apparently, old Timmy boy has some issues with female scientists, and isn’t afraid to share them. In the middle of his speech, in front of rows and rows of other scientists and journalists from around the world, he came out with this little gem:
“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.”
But oh no, he wasn’t done there. He then went on to say that he’s in favour of single-sex labs, because he doesn’t want to stand in the way of female scientists, apparently. So basically, Tim would have the entire science community separated by gender, like some weird, science themed school dance. Boys on one side, girls on the other, whispering, giggling and pointing at each other, before someone asks their mate to go and ask one of the girls if they want to share a science experiment. Romantic.
But before I get carried away, let me just go back to Tim’s comments for a second.
Firstly, if you’re worried that you’ll fall in love with one of the women you share a lab with, surely that’s your problem, not theirs. Maybe just learn to separate your work and your emotions?
Secondly, if you’re worried that they’re going to fall in love with you, I don’t think you need to stress. As clever as you may be, I doubt many women would be falling head over heels for a self-confessed chauvinist who looks like a wrinkled old balloon filled with lumpy porridge.
And thirdly, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that women are far more likely to make you cry than you are to make them shed a tear.
Anyway, today Tim went on BBC Radio 4 and formally apologised for his comments. Although, he sort of didn’t apologise. Or if he did, it was one of the worst apologies ever.
When he discussed his controversial remarks, he said he was “really sorry for what he said” but that he “did mean” his remarks and was “just trying to be honest.”
So yeah, that’s how a Nobel Prize winning scientist apologies for being a raging sexist, in case you were wondering.
Most people will happily accept an apology, providing they believe it to be sincere, and the person giving it to be truly sorry for what they did. This is a bit of a joke though, surely? It’s the equivalent of calling someone fat, and then saying “oh sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. You are pretty fat though, right? Perhaps put down the fork and get on a treadmill, yeah fatty?”
You can’t try and apologise and then go on to say that you meant what you said anyway. That’s not how it goes down, Timmy. Either stand by your remarks and accept the abuse you’ll receive for being a backwards thinking sexist, or own up to what you said, apologise properly and try to change your backwards thinking.
Also, Katie Hopkins agreed with what you said. And if the fact that Katie Hopkins, the loud mouthed idiot we just can’t seem to get rid of, agrees with you, it’s a pretty clear sign you’re being an idiot.
So, let me just say one final thing.
Tim, it’s 2015, women can vote, women can drive, women can play sports, and shock horror, women can do science. In fact, women can do all these things and more, all without crying or falling in love with you. So just go back to your lab and get on with whatever sciencey stuff it is that you do, ok?