Nobel Prize winner Sir Tim Hunt recently caused a stir when he argued that male and female scientists should work independently, because women are a distraction to men in the lab. At a conference, he was quoted as 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 criticize them, they cry.”
As improbable as it might sound, I am a female scientist, and I agree with Tim Hunt.
First of all, Sir Tim’s comments are based on his personal experiences, and are therefore incontrovertible. Three hundred and fifty years ago, Isaac Newton saw an apple fall and decided that gravity existed. Three weeks ago, Tim Hunt saw a woman cry and decided that all women are unfit to be scientists. Science is based on observations, which are the same thing as universal proof. Even I know that, and I’m just a woman whose brain is filled to capacity with yoga poses and recipes for gluten-free organic soap. Once, I was lured into a trap in the woods because I followed a trail of Sex and the City DVDs for three miles into a covered pit. Do you really think I could do something as complicated as thinking about science?
Second, Tim Hunt is correct in asserting that women are distracting to men in a lab setting, which greatly affects their productivity. Last month, my labmates and I had to burn our female coworker at the stake for witchcraft because we saw her holding an unwrapped tampon. Between building the stake, lighting an adequate fire, and waiting for her to die, we lost an entire day that we could otherwise have spent working. I make every effort to not distract my male colleagues; sometimes I have to work on my astrology charts from home when I’m menstruating or have leprosy, just so I can let the men in my lab focus on doing real science. It’s a small sacrifice I make that keeps morale in the lab way up.
Tim Hunt also mentions that men and women are constantly falling in love with each other within the lab. This is true; I used to identify as homosexual before working with a group of bearded men and a set of phallic pipettes turned me straight. Once that happened, I couldn’t stop falling in love with every man I met. One time I fell in love with Ernest Rutherford because there was a picture of him in our lab. Another time I dated a coworker for three months before realizing he was actually just an extra large lab coat with a smiley face drawn on the lapel. (He currently holds a tenure-track faculty position at Harvard University.)
Finally, women are just too damn emotional to be scientists. One time, I knocked over a vat of acid because I saw a baby duck through a window and I couldn’t stop crying. My uncontrollable biological clock killed six people that day. While menstruating, I once savagely castrated a visiting speaker because I ran out of chocolate. These may be appropriate actions for women in the domestic sphere, but they’re certainly not acceptable in the realms of science and academia.
Frankly, I don’t even know how I managed to become a scientist. I can only name a handful of important women in science, and they are all dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. I remember wanting to become a scientist when I was young, but I knew this must be a mistake; as a woman, I was better suited to a career in something more traditionally feminine, like becoming a prostitute or dying in childbirth. I likely only made it to my current position in a well-established lab by using reverse sexism, which is rampant in science.
I firmly endorse Sir Tim’s suggestion that labs be segregated by gender. That way, men can work on men’s science, like physics and chemistry, and women can do women’s science, which I think involves sitting in a quilting circle and making sure our cycles are synced. It’s important to make sure that all scientific discussions are conducted between men who are exactly the same and have identical worldviews. How else can they achieve progress?
I know my points might be controversial, but I truly believe all women are too emotional and sexy to do scientific research with men. Additional data are needed to support my claims, but a series of unrelated anecdotes from prestigious male scientists should suffice.