Tim Hunt/UCL resignation

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  • There was a "witch hunt" against Tim Hunt. "Sir Andre Geim, of the University of Manchester who shared the Nobel prize for physics in 2010 said that Sir Tim had been 'crucified' by ideological fanatics , and castigated UCL for 'ousting' him."[1]
    • How so? If he was "hung out to dry", why did he resign voluntarily?


The affair seems to have started with this Tweet on June 8: https://twitter.com/connie_stlouis/status/607813783075954688

June 9

A Daily Beast article describes Hunt's original remarks, explains why they're a problem, and goes on to paint a broader picture of sexism in science : http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/09/nobel-prize-winning-biologist-calls-women-love-hungry-cry-babies.html

That article was discussed in a blog post by PZ Myers on Pharyngula: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/06/09/being-a-good-scientist-doesnt-make-one-a-good-person/ "All I can say is... fuck off, dinosaur. We’re better off without you in any position of authority."

The Royal Society (of which Hunt is a member, but not an employee as far as I can tell) then "acted to distance itself" from Hunt's remarks: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/06/10/mediocre/ -- the Royal Society is hardly a bastion of inclusiveness (355 years old and never once had a female president), so I can't see this as a knee-jerk reaction.

June 10

Hunt resigns from his honorary position at UCL (University College London): http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0615/100615-tim-hunt

The position was unpaid and did not offer any special privileges; he wasn't doing research there or anything. It was purely for PR. When he dramatically failed at maintaining UCL's positive reputation, it was time to end the relationship.

June 11

PZ Myers reacts approvingly: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/06/11/removing-sexism-strengthens-academia/

...but the matter didn't end there.


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