I have talked a lot about the need for scientists to reach out. In fact, next week, I’ll be giving a talk at the University of Washington about why scientists need social media. There are lots of reasons for this, but one of the big ones is that people don’t know who scientists are.
Only 17% of Americans can name a living scientist. If you ask middle school students what a scientists looks like, they’ll tell you he’s a an old white guy with crazy hair, glasses and a lab coat. More often than not, he’s depicted inside and playing with chemicals. This stereotype is pervasive – and completely, totally wrong.
All of this is why I completely and totally love the new tumblr This Is What A Scientist Looks Like started by sci-comm guru Allie Wilkinson. Scientists from all kinds of fields are asked to submit photos of themselves and write a brief bit about who they are. The pictures are incredible; scientists are depicted everywhere from Antarctica to the tropics, on the tops of mountains or under the sea. The pics express personality, intelligence, and even a little humor.
Anyhow, if you’re a scientist, I strongly encourage you to add yourself. And if you’re not, go check out what scientists really look like, including a few goofballs like this: