Tuesday 21 July 2015

Sir Tim Hunt, an audiotape and a Curriculum Vitae


Just as I complete a post bemoaning the fact that some people have rushed to judge Sir Tim Hunt’s lunchtime talk at a conference for women scientists without there being any recording of the event,


such a recording has now surfaced.


I have not found a way of listening to it, (send me a link if you can find it) but it is claimed that the recording confirms that Sir Tim was joking, and that his comments were followed by general laughter. The recording also confirms that he made laudatory remarks about women scientists in the main body of his speech.

Any scientist would regard this development as taking us nearer to the truth, that elusive and beguiling fundamental state we seek above all others: a state of affairs that remains detectable even when we stop believing in it. It should hasten the day when those who were too quick to judge reflect on their error, and make the necessary correction to their mistaken world view. One would expect that UCL and the Royal Society would at least seek out the newly discovered recording, listen to it, and make their own judgment. As far as I know, that has not happened. The correct procedure would be for those two institutions to make a fresh statement, saying that new facts have come to light which they will be investigating.

Meanwhile, an academic misdemeanour at another academic institution has gone uncorrected. Connie St Louis, who has an academic post at City University, was the person who tweeted her views about Sir Tim’s lunchtime remarks. Since they were at variance with other accounts,  journalists have looked at her CV and found many claims about achievements which were either exaggerated or very out of date. She described herself as “an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist” but this has proved to be too generous a self-evaluation. She said she had an ‘upper second’ BSc (Hons) in applied biology” but did not state which institution had awarded her this degree, which is an essential part of understanding the quality of her education. An Alma Mater is usually a source of pride and affection, not something to be brushed out of the record.

Currently, her webpage at City University  “ is in the process of being updated”. It has remained in that state for some time, despite the fact that updating a CV should take no more than an hour or two at most. For the benefit of City University, here is a guideline as to what is required:

Give the details of your degrees stating the University, the degree course, the grading of the degree and the date of graduation.

Give the details of your academic posts.

Give the details of all your peer reviewed journal publications. In a separate section mention selected other relevant publications.

Give a list of grants obtained, the total amount, and the grant giving body.

If pushed to find something else to say, mention contributions to teaching and professional societies. Only mention media appearances if you think the quality of the work is greater than the loathing it will generate in your colleagues.

Could someone please let me know when the new CV appears on the City University website?


  1. But what I really want to know is whether Sir Tim is much the same sort of lefty (albeit doubtless hugely more intelligent) than the lamentable St Louis. As for UCL and the RS, just 'eave 'alf a brick for me, would you please doc?

  2. As if anyone was interested in the truth......... After all, Pilate said, "What is the truth?"

  3. There's audio of him here, with laughter - it's repeated throughout:


    It's short though, I didn't read the case for its significance.