Given all the romantic sparks flying around, not to mention the crying women, it's a wonder that anything gets done in labs and life-science facilities these days — a message conveyed by British scientist Sir Tim Hunt last week in South Korea.
At the World Conference of Science Journalists, the Nobel-prize winning biochemist told the audience about his "trouble with girls."
With females in the laboratory, Hunt remarked, three things happen: "You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry."
Instead of shedding tears in the wake of Hunt's sexist comments, women in science have taken to Twitter, using the hashtag #distractinglysexy to mock Hunt and prove him wrong. Thousands of female scientists, researchers, doctors, and others have posted pictures of themselves at work or in the field – often donning unglamorous garb such as lab coats, safety glasses, or biohazard suits – with captions poking fun at Hunt's notion that their tears and affections present hazards to their male coworkers or render them incapable of professionalism.
Other posts heralded the achievements of notable female scientists, often in ironic jest.
Days after #distractinglysexy first appeared on Twitter, the hashtag continues to burgeon. Hunt has resigned from his post at University College London.