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Sunday, July 12, 2015

When a mob of Twitter idiots can ruin a Nobel-winning scientist's career over a joke, something is seriously wrong

On June 8, a shocking sexism-in-science scandal erupted on Twitter and spilled quickly into the mainstream media: British biochemist and Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt, reports said, had told a mostly female audience at an international science journalists’ conference in Seoul, Korea that “girls” in the laboratory are liable to cry and cause romantic turmoil—and advocated sex segregation.

The next day, Dr. Hunt, 72, resigned his honorary post at University College London; he also stepped down from committees and advisory boards of the Royal Society (Britain’s academy of sciences) and the European Research Council. Yet the embattled scientist has found a growing chorus of supporters who see him as the victim of a witch hunt. And an examination of the facts strongly suggests that Dr. Hunt’s champions are right: the real scandal in this story is Twitter mob rule compounded by sloppy and biased journalism...

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