Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What’s a scientist?

The NYT reports (ht: MR):
When asked to name a scientist, Americans are stumped. In one recent survey, the top choice, at 47 percent, was Einstein, who has been dead since 1955, and the next, at 23 percent, was “I don’t know.” In another survey, only 4 percent of respondents could name a living scientist.

I admit I was stumped for a few minutes as well. Perhaps the respondents were afraid to ask: What’s considered a scientist?

Does Brian Greene count? Craig Venter? Steven Chu? Steven Hawking? Terence Tao?

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