Dr Tim Hunt resigned from his position as Honorary Professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences following the online backlash he received from his ‘sexist’ comments made about women in science.


Prof. Brian Cox recognises there is a “serious issue” with the “perceived air of sexism” in science. (Image courtesy of Chris Payne)

Sir Tim Hunt commented at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, saying: “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.”

Writing in a newspaper column in the Daily Telegraph Boris Johnson said the response to Sir Tim’s remarks was an “overreaction” and that it should not be an offence to point out “gender differences”.

Women are hitting back at Sir Tim’s comments by using the hashtag #distractinglysexy where they are posting pictures of themselves in labs, as seemingly distracted or crying.


Although there is a shrinking gender pay gap there is still a clear divide in remuneration between men and women. The overall pay gap currently stands at 19.1 percent (2014), which is still above the EU 2014 average of 16.4 percent, according to Fawcett, the UKs leading charity for women’s equality and rights.

TV scientist Prof Brian Cox also defended Sir Tim today saying that although he made some “ill-advised” remarks, he believes Sir Tim was “hounded out” of his university positions.

Prof Cox recognises there is a “serious issue” with the “perceived air of sexism” which deters women from pursuing careers in science.

Throughout the criticism Sir Tim has argued he had been “hung out to dry” over the comments which he insists were meant as humorous.

Sir Tim Hunt, 72, won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering protein molecules that control the division of cells.

Title image courtesy of Tom Page.