Link Dump for the Rock Stars of Science campaign

By Chris Mooney | November 18, 2010 1:49 pm

RSOS Final JPEG Page 1The new campaign went public yesterday, and there was much commentary. It kicked off with a piece by Dan Vergano in USA Today, in which Vergano quoted the campaign’s leading rocker Debby Harry of “Blondie”: “All these people are doing great things. We have to get the word out.”

Well, it has gotten out:

Here’s a report at The Scientist by Amy Maxmen, debating whether the campaign will work to address scientific literacy. (I will have more to say on this point.)

Here’s a report at Science magazine, also asking whether the campaign can “cut through the noise.” (Well, if anything can….)

Here’s Phil Plait, who doesn’t hold anything back: “I am insanely jealous. I love Heart, and had a bit of a crush on both Ann and Nancy Wilson when I was in high school. And, um, maybe I still do, a little. But c’mon! Barracuda! Crazy On You! Magic Man! Awesome sauce.”

Here’s my blog piece at New Scientist, entitled “Scientists and Musicians: Separated at Birth?”

Here’s Eva Amsen at The Node, who writes: “Jealous? Keep up the research, and maybe one day it will be you rubbing shoulders with musicians in a glossy photo shoot.”

Here’s James Hrynyshyn, very reasonably asking, where are the rock stars of climate science? (I agree, they deserve acclaim as well.)

Here’s Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles, who writes: “I like the fact that some people who know stuff about selling glamor are getting involved with science. We could use more of this kind of thing.”

Here’s Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist: “The goal is to get people excited about scientists — you can be the judge of whether that will happen.” (It is happening as we speak.)

Here’s SciCurious at Neurotic Physiology: “I am personally thrilled that they have made an effort to include more women and minorities in this years spread, and that they got some leather jackets in the mix.”

This is just a sampling of links, compiled quickly before I had to race back out for the second day of the NSF training. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. I’ll update this post as I come across more links–and don’t  hesitate to send them to me!


Comments (12)

  1. Chris Mooney

    Thanks Tara! I missed you last time but you’re leading my next link dump. Thanks for your thoughts on the campaign

  2. As one of the initial fans of the 2009 campaign I was psyched to see things evolve a bit for 2010. Science and scientists need some good PR and this is a great campaign that gets a lot of attention. But I can’t say it is all that inspiring, especially to young folks. I’ll be posting an entry on Future-ish tonight on this year’s campaign and I’ll have a few zingers on both the style/design of the campaign and the content but for now I’ll just offer an SNL Debbie Downer “wah-wah” sound effect for my first impressions. We need to make science aspirational and using pop culture is certainly one way to do this. Over at Future-ish, we’re trying to increase interest, literacy, and involvement in science by highlighting true ‘scelebs’ (celebrity scientists), as well as Smart Stars. Sadly, I don’t think this year’s spread makes science more interesting or accessible like last year’s did. But in the end, it will get a lot of press and as any pop-culture groupie knows…any press is good press (interesting how that is not the case in the science world).

  3. hey, you forgot Princess Ojiaku of Science with Moxie. She blogged about the GQ article, too.

  4. Sputnik

    Honestly, I find these photos incredibly awkward. I can’t help but laugh at some of the poses, the poor lighting and photoshop work. The choice of people is also puzzling…Dr. Oz?

  5. Sean McCorkle

    4&6 – agreed – its not very inspirational in my opinion. At a casual glance, there’s nothing to distinguish the featured scientist from say, bankers, auto salesmen, administrators or insurance company employees. It separates the individuals from what they do – their science. The science is the exiting part, not necessarily the individuals. Or rather, what makes the scientist exciting is what they do or have done.

    At the very least I’d reduce the size of the people in the picture and have a cool background image or montage appropriate to the research – molecular simulations, particle displays, astronomical images, etc – whatever is relevant. If no data images are available, then illustrations. Pictures have impact.

  6. schrokit

    I think you mean Neurotic Physiology re: SciCurious’ blog!

  7. Chris Mooney

    @10 Doh. fixed that


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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