A Nobel Prize-winning British scientist has apologized for saying the "trouble with girls" working in science labs is that it leads to romantic entanglements and harms science.

Tim Hunt, 72, made the comments at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea, according to audience members.

Connie St Louis of London's City University tweeted that Hunt said when women work alongside men in labs, "you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry."

Hunt, joint recipient of the 2001 Nobel for medicine, said he was trying to be humorous. He told BBC radio on Wednesday that he was "really, really sorry I caused any offense."

Then he added: "I did mean the part about having trouble with girls."