Today I was inspired by a New York Times articled titled “Groups Call for Scientists to Engage the Body Politic." Shockingly, the flaccid and uninteresting headline failed to catch my attention but I luckily was drawn in by the interactive quiz feature. The quiz tests your ability to identify pictures of scientists. I got 9/10 but I’m not going to lie I used process of elimination on at least four of the questions and got very lucky. The feature and the article highlight the un-recognizable-ness of some of today’s top scientists.
The crux of the article is that scientists almost always fly under the radar. I am curious to what extent this is by choice and to what extent it is accidental. My guess is that it’s a bit of both. I’m sure some scientists fancy themselves to be well-known but are quite the opposite. And I would also bet that there are a lot of scientists who believe that their scientific research will do the talking for itself. We’re here to science, not to become rock stars right?
There is little point to what I do every day if the work is never passed along and explained to the people who might benefit from it. Use whatever word you like: “end user,” “consumer,” “implementer,” “manager.” First things first: they need to know you exist and they need to know what you think! This is especially crucial in today’s political atmosphere where climate change and evolution are treated as topics of debate instead of important scientific realities.
If we are truly to respect ourselves, the science we do, and the people who can use that science, then we need to get out there and speak.
You will never have a voice if you don’t open your mouth.
PS: If you can name the movie that inspired the title of this post, I will give you a gold star!