The science of saying stupid things

We have a new standard in the non-apology apology thanks to British Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt, whose specialty appears to be the science of saying stupid things.

The biochemist told the World Conference of Science Journalists, “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.”

Tim! Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim!

His “apology” on the BBC today is almost as insulting. Almost.

“I did mean the part about having trouble with girls,” he said. “It is true that people – I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.

“I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.

“I’m really, really sorry I caused any offence, that’s awful. I certainly didn’t mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually.”

“I’m really sorry that I said what I said. It was a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists,” Hunt said, failing again to solve one of life’s enduring mysteries: how can some smart people be so utterly stupid?