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'Girl' scientists spin sexist comments into comedy gold

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Here are a few ladies doing a bit more in the lab than crying and flirting

Weird how some people can be both completely brilliant and a total freaking bonehead at the same time. Exhibit A: former professor Tim Hunt.

Actually, it's Sir Tim Hunt — he's a knight as well as a Nobel Prize winner and biochemist. And up until yesterday, Sir Tim Hunt was also a professor at the über prestigious University College London. He was forced to resign after making some other-level sexist comments at a conference in South Korea — attended by a room full of really smart lady scientists and a whole bunch of journalists.

First he opened with, "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls." There’s nothing that can possibly follow that first sentence that won't be awful, right? Oh, not to worry, Sir Tim Hunt obliged.

"Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry."

He really said that.

And while the only reasonable reaction to the comment is to guffaw, it stops being funny the second you remember that these are the men running our best universities, labs and companies in the world.

It's going to take a whole lot more than GoldieBlox to overcome this kind of prejudice against women in science.

And so lady scientists across the world are reacting in the most powerful way they can — taking to social media to show the world what a real lady in the lab looks like and take a couple of hilarious jabs at Tim Hunt's comments in the process.

Here are a few ladies doing a little more than being #distractinglysexy in the lab, regardless of Sir Tim Hunt's opinion.

Danielle Spitzer posted this shot of herself at work obviously dressed to turn heads.

Here are a few ladies that were able to earn their Chemistry degrees between all the sexy and crying.

Here's a genius Tim Hunt Quarantine Lab created from Legos with the females safely segregated from the dudes.

In some circles, maybe cheetah poop is #distractinglysexy.

And congrats to scientist Lucie who was able to get through another day at the lab without crying.

What's more #distractinglysexy than crystallography experimentation?

Or avoiding ticks in the field?

Brains are pretty sexy, but dissecting brains?

And wonderfully, there were plenty of men that couldn't resist taking their own swipe at Hunt's comments.

And what man could avoid an invitation to the fluid bed from this distracting lady?

Lady scientists might not get a ton of respect from the likes of Sir Tim Hunt, but these chicks have jokes for days. Sometimes you've got to laugh to keep from crying.

More on women in science

10 Female scientist role models for your daughter
7 Important skills for STEM success
What women need to know about the gender wage gap and salary negotiation

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