Open Letter to Sir Richard Timothy "Tim" Hunt

Dr Hunt,

Yesterday I woke to your comments about women in science:
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he reportedly said. “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry!”
I am sorry you seem to have problems with us in the lab. It must be horrible for you. You are right, when I first started my M.Sc in my current institution I did fell in love. Twice actually, once with my research, which is why I am still working in it as a PhD student with 2 papers to my name, I had a full scholarship for all my M.Sc and for most of my PhD, several presentations both oral and by poster, I am the current ambassador of my institution and truth be told sir, I am the one who knows where everything is in my lab.The other time I fell in love was with another wonderful scientist; he is from another lab and we are engaged. I asked him, he never felt his research was affected by my presence, but maybe he has better self control? I have to say I do not know if anyone other than him has fallen in love with me at the lab, but maybe, who knows, I mean, look at this picture, I was so distracting while working with Phenol!

Have I cried in the lab? Yes, several times actually, the first time when after a +14h day in the lab without time for eating or resting, and with barely 4h of sleep before, I lost one of my samples. I have to say, it was quite frustrating to lose a whole day's work.So yeah, I cried. And then shook it off and continue working, because, you know, science. Another friend of mine cried at the lab when she lost her dearest uncle. Since she is a foreign student, working her ass off in the lab, having to do double what her male counterparts do around to get some recognition, she wasn't able to be there with her family. But I guess you would say both cases have to do with us being "emotional". Have I cried after being criticized? Yes, although I am pretty sure it had more to do with the fact that I don't respond well with someone towering over me (I'm 5'1" or 1.59m) while screaming at me and not with the fact that I am a woman. This is a theory I have, considering that the same person has made men cry too, but you know, I might be biased.

I see you are in favor of single sex labs, and you know? Maybe you are into something there. Maybe if I was in lab with only girls I wouldn't have arrived to my lab one day and see that all the vacuum pumps (sometimes called "suceuses" in French, you go and Google that to get the implication) had stickers with female names all over the lab. Have to admit that was indeed, distracting. Maybe in a single sex lab, I wouldn't be expected to take every phone call, even when I am the one in the middle of an experiment and a male coworker is literally sitting next to the phone. Maybe I wouldn't be expected to know where every single chemical in the lab is or take care of the orders in the lab because "you're a girl, you are better at this than we are, wink, wink".

You "apologized" for your comments, saying that it was a mistake to say such a room full or journalist. Did I expect someone with a Nobel Prize to be maybe slightly less misogynistic and narrow minded? Well, not necessarily, but one can have hopes.

But one good thing has come of your words, Dr. Hunt, and I do hope you are familiar with social media and see the response you've gotten, from people all over academia.

Have a nice day, hope you don't get too distracted with the pictures all over with #distractinglysexy

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