A colleague of mine, Chris Mooney (author of the Republican War on Science) recently published an article in Slate magazine: “Mission Accomplished. The “war on science” is over. Now what?” I encourage you to read the full report. I found two points statistically fascinating (although they’re not related to his main points):
” While scientists may be resurgent in Washington, their world as a whole remains distant and bizarre to most Americans. Only 18 percent of us know a scientist personally, according to a 2005 survey (subscription required), and when asked in 2007 to name scientific “role models,” the results were dismal. Forty-four percent of Americans couldn’t come up with a name at all, and among those few who did, their top answers were either not scientists or not alive: Bill Gates, Al Gore, Albert Einstein.”
Do you personally know a scientist? (I do.) And, let’s hear it: “Name a scientific role model.” (Mine include Story Musgrave, Marvin Minsky, Sally Ride….) I just asked my 11-year-old daughter to name one and she said: “Ask me anything else. OK. Albert Einstein or Weird Al Yankovic.” She may not have inherited my love of science but she’s got a wicked sense of humor.