I bet that even if you don’t follow sports, or pop music, or the movies, you can name a dozen ‘famous’ people currently active in those arenas.
After all, it’s really hard to avoid them: they’re mentioned on the news, they appear on magazine covers and in newspapers, you hear their names on the bus or at the supermarket.
Sure those people entertain us, or are good at what they do, but what about the scientists whose quiet work behind the scenes reaches into every aspect of our daily lives?
That’s what Kirsten Sanford rightly asks in Famous Scientists Wanted:
Scientists do amazing work that affects every aspect of peoples’ lives. Why aren’t they compensated for the valuable contributions they make to society? Why isn’t science sold to the public? Where are the PR agents for science? Science needs PR, so that more kids will see science as a future career instead of looking up to the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana.
Why don’t kids look up to scientists? There really are no famous scientists to look up to.
When I say famous, I mean easily identifiable to the general public; famous as in rockstar famous or even reality TV famous…
She makes an excellent point. As I dredge through my brain trying to conjure the names of real living scientists there are precious few to be found, and with some I’m not sure if they’re still alive even.
And you know what? I listen to science-related podcasts all the time. I keep an eye on science-related RSS feeds, I have the odd sciencey book lying around half-read.1
Yet I can tell you the names of various members of the All Blacks rugby team, and I don’t even like rugby. I go out of my way to avoid it!
Mind you, I may be able to tell you the names of various ‘mad’ scientists from the movies …
Go read the rest of what Sanford has to say, and watch the nice little Intel ad video she includes.
1 Most of the books I have lying around are only half-read. I have a bad record these days with dead-tree books. At one stage in my life I’d easily read a printed book a day. Now I read one every 3 months or so. I so wish they were all on my iPod, or on the Kindle and that the Kindle were available here in New Zealand …