Richard Gallagher on the poor image of scientists

"Eric Lander in wrap-around shades and a black trench coat isn't going to carry the same punch as Bono, and I don't see Tony Blair cuddling up to Craig Venter on MTV like he did with Bob Geldof. But we don't want or need to have the impact of the rock fraternity on world opinion. We just need researchers to have a higher profile than the current, pitiful, low."

– Dr. Richard Gallagher, Editor of The Scientist

(Editor’s note: Lander is a famous professor of biology at MIT and Venter is a famous scientist/entrepeneur, both of whom played a major role in the Human Genome Project – although on opposite sides of the ‘race’.)

In this amusing and thought-provoking editorial, Gallagher argues that today’s scientists are essentially invisible to the world at large, with most people unable to name any contemporary scientist (see our Data Point for an example). He warns that people are turned off by science and points to the consequences of this attitude for society. You can read the entire article here if you have a subscription to the magazine.