Monday, June 15, 2015

Tim Hunt, another culture war casualty.

That SHIRT!!!

Scientist tells stupid joke at a meeting, gets fired from everything in his life. And his wife gets fired too. Because Twitter.

As jokes go, Sir Tim Hunt's brief standup routine about women in science last week must rank as one of the worst acts of academic self-harm in history. As he reveals to the Observer, reaction to his remarks about the alleged lachrymose tendencies of female researchers has virtually finished off the 72-year-old Nobel laureate's career as a senior scientific adviser.
What he said was wrong, he acknowledges, but the price he and his wife have had to pay for his mistakes has been extreme and unfair. "I have been hung out to dry," says Hunt.
His wife, Professor Mary Collins, one of Britain's most senior immunologists, is similarly indignant. She believes that University College London – where both scientists had posts – has acted in "an utterly unacceptable" way in pressuring both researchers and in failing to support their causes.
Certainly the speed of the dispatch of Hunt – who won the 2001 Nobel prize in physiology for his work on cell division – from his various academic posts is startling. In many cases this was done without him even being asked for his version of events, he says. The story shows, if nothing else, that the world of science can be every bit as brutal as that of politics.

Stupid joke? Sure.  Career ending catastrophic scandal? No. Really not. Shirtstorm redux. Example. Catherine Bennett was SHOCKED, simply SHOCKED I tell you.

Catherine Bennett, boring shirt wearer who could have a lucrative career frightening small children.
At some point institutions and private companies are going to have to start backing up their people when old geezers like Tim Hunt make stupid jokes. Or all these old geezers are just going stop contributing. At which point those institutions and companies are all going to have a pretty insurmountable problem.

Nobody -has- to be a scientist, y'know.`

The Phantom

1 comment:

Alyric said...

Between this, Italy's prosecution of scientists for not predicting an earthquake, and other related events, I suspect that in a few decades there will be two types of 'scientists': the climate change priesthood, and retired.