The Most Depressing Statistic of the Last Ten Years

There was a lot of great information presented at the National Weather Assn. conference. But, one statistic, presented by Ed Maibach of George Mason University, was horribly depressing:

65% of Americans cannot name a single living scientist.

Let that sink in a moment.

Kim Kardashian, check. Paris Hilton, check.

Barry Marshall, who? Gerhard Ertl?  Dan Shechtman? You can see bios of those people here. They recently won Nobel Prizes. Each of these men (especially Marshall and Shechtman) have fascinating stories about overcoming overwhelming scientific opposition to bring their discoveries to the fore.

Science teachers: Please introduce your students to these heroes in our time. By adding some personality to science courses, you can generate enthusiasm for the more technical aspects of what you teach.  

4 thoughts on “The Most Depressing Statistic of the Last Ten Years

  1. Actually I think it may be a good thing because I bet the teacher would pick Hansen or Mann or someone of that ilk. A deceased scientist would probably be Rachel Carson who is responsible for more human death than Stalin, Hitler, and Mao combined

  2. Flag that first comment as one of from an anonymous ignorant. That is exactly the kind of venal claptrap that has contributed to the sorry state we find ourselves in.

  3. What's even more depressing is the number of meteorologists who are climate change deniers. Ignorance of science is sad, but when people with scientific training behave ignorantly, it's unforgivable.

  4. Couldabin,

    Hmm. Could it be that meteorologists — people who actually know something about how the atmosphere works — have good reason to be skeptical?

    Could the reverse also be true: Al Gore, the head of the IPCC, and the chief scientist for the IPCC — none of whom have any education in atmospheric science — are more susceptible to outlandish statements about global warming because they don't know any better?