Omega Recoil, a Tesla Coil performance group I’ve worked with, was showing off at the 2009 Dorkbot party. They dragged a receiving coil around to observe how much wireless power they could get from a Tesla coil at different distances. ‘Twas a brilliant example of the fun you can have while doing really dangerous things.Filed under The Science Word | Comment (0)
For the past few years I’ve been talking with friends about the fact that scientists should be treated like rockstars or sports heroes. 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… the kind of famous where Joe Shmoe at the grocery store is interested in looking at pictures of you drinking a coffee in the most recent edition of Famous People (Because We Say They Are Famous and We Are The Media) Weekly.
There are scientists who are known for helping to popularize science, like Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku, or for being insulting to large groups of people, like Richard Dawkins and James Watson. But, if you were to ask a cross-section of people at at cocktail party to name their favorite scientist, the majority of them will probably name someone dead. Ask them to name their favorite actor, athlete, or musician and it is a completely different story.
However, within the past few months the grapevine has been abuzz with chatter addressing this issue of scientist popularity. Intel used the idea as the basis for a recent ad.
And, a group out of Southern California are even putting scientists and rockstars together (is this the transitive property of fame by association?).
Both of the above campaigns lack one major component… women. It’s true, women do science, too. And, they should get the recognition they deserve just like the men.
That said, it’s great to hear people talking about science’s public image. The concept of scientist as rock star is growing in the public consciousness. There needs to be a continued and consistent PR effort to maintain that growth. Scientists as a lot aren’t so great at self-promotion, but with help from the marketing and PR community scientists and science could be… the next big thing.Filed under Esoterica | Comments (13)