Scientists are heroes

The author of a new book contravenes the myth that the public views scientists as geeks or villains

Dennis Meredith
Feb 10, 2010
For me, the last straw came several years ago when the director of a major national laboratory declared to an audience of reporters at a large scientific meeting that the public sees scientists as geeky, unattractive, or "mad." He wasn't the first scientist to spout this corrosive myth about his own profession. But I hope that the clear evidence to the contrary in my new book linkurl:__Explaining Research__;http://www.amazon.com/Explaining-Research-Reach-Audiences-Advance/dp/0199732051 will make him the last.
In fact, I think that the public overwhelmingly sees scientists as heroes. This is demonstrated most convincingly in the positive portrayal of scientists in movies and TV shows, which are prime barometers of public perception.Opinion polls also bear out the public's perception of the scientist-hero. In a 2006 linkurl:Harris Poll,;http://harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=688And for example, Americans said they trusted doctors (85%), teachers (83%), scientists (77%) and professors (75%) far more than they did journalists (39%), lawyers (27%), or pollsters (34%)....