Nobel Prize winner for medicine Tim Hunt has resigned as honorary professor with the University College London following the uproar triggered by his outrageously sexist comments on the "trouble with girls in the lab" in a speech at a South Korea conference.
"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," Hunt explained.
After a tsunami of furious twitter comments, Hunt resigned his post as honorary professor with the University College London Faculty of Life Sciences, reports the Times of London. Ironically the school was the "first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality," it said in a statement on its website confirming Hunt's resignation.
Hunt said in a BBC radio interview later that he's sorry for hurting anyone's feelings, but not for making the point that women can cause disruptions in labs. He said calling for separate labs for the genders was a stupid thing to do in front of journalists, and that his "ironic comment" had been taken too seriously by the audience.
"I did mean the part about having trouble with girls," he added. "It is true that I have fallen in love with people in the lab and that people in the lab have fallen in love with me. It's very disruptive to science, because it's terribly important in the lab that people are on a level playing, and I've found that these emotional entanglements have made life difficult.
"I'm really really sorry that I caused any offence, that's awful. I just meant to be honest, actually ... Science is about nothing but getting at the truth and anything that gets in the way of that diminishes, in my experience, the science."
Cell biologist colleague Dr Jennifer Rohn said it seemed like Hunt was trying to make a point and be funny at the same time and didn't pull it off.
"I know he's a human being, but he does have some sort of responsibility as a role model and as an ambassador for the profession," she added.