The big story on gender politics in science this week was Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt’s comments on mixed gender labs. I’m sure you’ve already read this a thousand times, but I’ll repeat his quote here for completeness.
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he was reported as saying. “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.”
Naturally, I don’t have much to say on this very controversial issue, aside from mentioning that (most) scientists are humans, and humans fall in love, and relationships will always be a distraction from science. But emotion doesn’t make a person a bad scientist; in fact, emotion is what allows scientists to pursue questions for many years with little reward! We love our science. And love, as always, brings a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses, biases and passions, to the table. It makes humans…human. It’s unavoidable.
(And single gender labs are also bound to lead to relationships, fyi.)
I’d also like to point readers to the somewhat humorous response of many female scientists, the hashtag #distractinglysexy.
I’m not a twitterer, but if I were, this portrait of a field biologist would be my contribution.