The Importance of Scientists in Science
In modern culture, it seems that the media (and the population as a whole) have an infatuation with the individual. Between People Magazine’s obsessive paparazzi and Time’s Most Influential People List, there is such an overt objectification of superstars and celebrity and specific people that “make the world go round,” so to speak.
But does this apply to science? We live in an age filled with technological and scientific advances, and these are always talked about, but I feel as though the people associated with these examples of progress are not necessarily given the media coverage or respect that they deserve.
Just as this thought was going through my head this afternoon, I walked by a little-known monument just off the National Mall: The Albert Einstein Memorial. “Oh,” I thought. “So maybe some scientists were revered.”
Albert Einstein’s contributions were so significant to science that he was given a larger than life memorial in our nation’s capital. E=mc^2 is an equation that all Americans of nearly all ages can recite. (Knowing what it means is perhaps a different story, but that’s not the point.) What I’m trying to get at is that, in our culture, Albert Einstein is a celebrity, in a sense. He is well-known, at least for what he looks like, for his eccentric nature, and for a few of his scientific contributions. But he died in 1955. Since then, there has been a plethora of other scientific successes and achievements. Do we know the names and faces associated with other signs on scientific progress? I’m not sure. Let me know what your thoughts on this are. Is justice or recognition due to these scientists who work hard to make life better for all of mankind? Or are scientists proud enough that their contribution was recognized? Is the name of a scientist irrelevant?