Michael C shared this article from CNET with us: “Science in the public view: a good gamble.” The author does a good job illustrating why more dialogue between researchers and the public is needed:
There are plenty of practical barriers between physicists and ordinary people, but too many of them are gratuitous. I don’t expect the public to regain its faith in science anytime soon, but rebuilding the ties between the public and the researchers, or at least opening the doors, will help the public be more sympathetic and the researchers be more honest with their ultimate audience.
Soldiers, like scientists, are less than 1 percent of the American population, yet influential beyond their numbers–and have little control over their public perception. I enlisted during Viet Nam and suffered with terrible public image of soldiers in the 70s. I went back in the Army in 2007 and went to Iraq last year. People thank me for my service every time I put on the uniform. I obeyed orders then and now, but the public currently likes what I am doing.
Scientists were popular when soldiers were not, now soldiers are much more popular. I hope that the Science Cheerleader and citizen science organizations are the beginning of a movement to raise public awareness of how much science influences our health and quality of life. Quantum physics and chemistry, in the form of silicon wafers, led to the high tech revolution. Molecular biology and gene sequencing led to the biotech revolution. Science is America’s best path to prosperity.
Our scientists, like our soldiers, help to make America great.