Home > Uncategorized > The Importance of Scientists in Science

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?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    You make a good point when you say this. I’m sure if we all go through our text books we’ll find multiple scientists before and after Einstein who have made great contribution to the world of science, but its stange that they aren’t recognized as well as Einstein is. I’m sure there are monuments or memorials or statues out there of other scientists but we live in DC some of our history’s most influential people are displayed here einstein deffinitly is one of them. But we also have many science museums around DC, famous scientists that made it to our text book are recognized there. I think scientists all get recognized in different ways. When scientists discover something, they tend to name that discovery after them selves for the world to use. I understand what you are trying to say about modern scientist, but there are many scientists out there, I think one needs to make a crazy discovery, perhaps the cure to cancer to get greatly acknowledged. The name of the scientist is never irrelevant.

  2. October 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I don’t necessarily think it’s true that modern society exalts the progress but ignores the individual. I think the best example of this is all of the attention given to the death of Steve Jobs recently. This isn’t just the “official” media either, if you will, but the mass driven media of social networking. I remember trying to access my twitter in the hour after Jobs’ death only to discover the server had crashed from over activity. In the following days, every trending topic on twitter was related to Jobs’ death and various links to commemorative pieces were linked all over twitter, facebook, and tumblr. In this respect, I think it can be argued that, while less common now, those who contribute to the scientific community in a way that directly affects people will be acknowledged in this society.

  3. October 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I think you have an excellent point. Most scientists today after Einstien are not known the public, only the significant changes that they brought to science. I think that modern times have changed that aspect of knowing the scientist name because of the differences in culture. Today, most people don’t care how information was found or discovered, or even who discovered it, they only care about the information itself. Also, because of technology, science today is no longer an individual field. Scientists in the United States can work with a scientist in China corraboratively to find scientific knowledge, so one person doesn’t discover things anymore, its a group of people from around the country or world. Although I do believe scientists don’t want the spotlight with everything they help discover because they did it for the good of science, I believe that a name or names of the people involved are necessary in order to give credit where it is due. There are more scientists than Einstein who have made significant discoveries in the scientific community, and I believe that these names should be brought about so that Einstein doesn’t stand alone as the figure head in science.

  4. October 10, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I think this post brings up a very interesting idea. As a country, we treat Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady like royalty but I guarantee half of the people in this city don’t know who Alexander Flemming or Jonas Salk are. Which just brings to light our priorities as a nation, I mean yes, we are able to identify the big names like Einstein, Newton and more modern icons Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. But there are so many more scientists who have made contributions to our daily lives who get zero recognition for their work. Even in a time where scientific advancements are happening daily, we would still rather watch news regarding who is dating whom in the celebrity world. To me its just illogical that the people who dedicate their entire lives to betting ours, get little to no recognition, while some girl can post a video of herself debating which seat to take in song form and become an internationally recognized icon over night. While we all fall victim to this mentality, I think it is important for us to take a step back every once and a while and look at who the real celebrities are or at least should be.

  5. October 10, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I feel that modern scientists and their contributions are given publicity, it is just where you look. I mean there are plenty of magazines that cover the scientists and their discoveries such as Wired and Popular Science; it is just not everybody chooses to read those. I personally am much happier to hear about Jakob Eg Larsen and his new brain scanner for the Nokia phone then about what the Kardashians are doing, so i read those magazines instead of People or US Weekly. Everyone has the option to read them it is just they do not care enough for some reason. Now one of the main reasons that Einstein is so widely known is because his theory and discoveries altered a whole field of science forever. Modern physics is based on his theories and without him the field would be very different. To me that seems to deserve the wide attention that Einstein has over current scientists.

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