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Old 12-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
Timmy D for MVP
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Default Celebrity Scientists

I was thinking about this today as I was reading Neil deGrasse Tyson: Tyson is likely to most famous scientist of his era (so not counting Hawking, Sagan, Goodall, etc.). He has become a little bit of an internet sensation, and seemingly THE go to guy for many shows when they need a physicist to explain something. He and Bill Nye are the people I see most on regular shows.

But how many people actually know Tyson? If I drove to the nearby mall and asked everyone I could I would bet the percentage who knows Tyson is below 20%.

Do you think that the age of scientists being popular culture icons is over? Do you think there will ever be another Hawking? Another Sagan? I think there is an over saturation these days that will be tough to overcome for someone to get popular like those older scientists. Too many channels.

I think that's a shame too because Tyson is that voice that can turn a generation of people on to physics.

I do think one thing can buck this trend. At one point Albert Einstein was the most famous person on the planet. Now he had a knack for quotes, and all, but the real draw was that he "rewrote" the Universe. I think whatever scientist has the next major breakthrough will be famous. But it seems like the days of being able to drop a current scientist's name in regular conversation will end at Hawking.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Michio Kaku gets a lot of airtime, but not all of it is deserved.

Angela Merkel's a physicist. Mohamed Morsi has a Ph.D. in Materials Science and was an engineering professor for years before becoming president.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoooter
Michio Kaku gets a lot of airtime, but not all of it is deserved.

Angela Merkel's a physicist. Mohamed Morsi has a Ph.D. in Materials Science and was an engineering professor for years before becoming president.
Why dont you think he deserves it?I think hes great spent a whole night watching his stuff on youtube.

Richard Dawkins use to be everywhere too.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

It's just that, on some subjects, there are probably better options. He's obviously very scientifically literate; I wasn't trying to slight him.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

I've seen alot of Tyson's debates and lectures, like the one he did with Richard Dawkins, as well as his podcast. He seems like a pretty cool nerd that you'd know in high school. But this guy is on a whole nother level as far as intellect goes, at the same time he makes it easy to understand.

An audience member once asked him something like "where do you want to go after you die?" then he said he would like his body to decompose into the soil, then grow as grass as cows would eventually eat it. Of course he said it way better though.


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Old 12-01-2012, 04:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Off topic, but here's a good interview with Stephen Colbert and Tyson. It's also interesting to see Colbert not in character

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXh9RQCvxmg
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brujesino
Richard Dawkins use to be everywhere too.

Dawkins is more famous for his Atheism than his scientific contribution now.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brujesino
Why dont you think he deserves it?I think hes great spent a whole night watching his stuff on youtube.

String Theory = Psuedoscience
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

morgan freeman
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

I was gonna say Michio Kaku too. I think he may be more famous than Tyson. I think a lot of that though is the sort of meme culture though. Between the name and the cadence of his voice, Michio Kaku is just easily accessible for pop culture type references.
There are probably other "scientists" that don't quite fill the implied point of this thread that are equally famous from the medical field. The first that comes to mind is Dr. Drew. I personally love Weird Medicine with Dr. Steve, but that's mostly a niche thing because I have XM radio.
I think there is a few spots where someone could fill in. Specifically the space field, and even more so in medicine. There hasn't been a celebrity healer really since Jonas Salk, and someday someone is going to cure something and become world famous for it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Quote:
Originally Posted by embersyc
String Theory = Psuedoscience

Theoretical physics =/= pseudoscience.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorpesaurous
I was gonna say Michio Kaku too. I think he may be more famous than Tyson. I think a lot of that though is the sort of meme culture though. Between the name and the cadence of his voice, Michio Kaku is just easily accessible for pop culture type references.
There are probably other "scientists" that don't quite fill the implied point of this thread that are equally famous from the medical field. The first that comes to mind is Dr. Drew. I personally love Weird Medicine with Dr. Steve, but that's mostly a niche thing because I have XM radio.
I think there is a few spots where someone could fill in. Specifically the space field, and even more so in medicine. There hasn't been a celebrity healer really since Jonas Salk, and someday someone is going to cure something and become world famous for it.
Exactly this. Kaku was the first I thought of. I actually haven't seen Tyson in a while. But it seems like anytime someone needs a good physics related professor (or hell even doomsday like the sun having solar flares that kill us) He'll get on and talk about it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:21 PM   #14
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

Never heard of Michio Kaku but I've seen Tyson many times.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:52 PM   #15
Timmy D for MVP
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Default Re: Celebrity Scientists

I don't think Michio Kaku enjoys the same total outlet popularity that Tyson does. Tyson sells more, he's on the bigger T.V. shows more, and I would argue that he's at least as popular on the internet as Kaku. Tyson is a major lecture tour figure.

I think what makes Kaku potentially more interesting is that he talks a lot about like the more controversial parts of physics, a lot of theoretical stuff which is fun.
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