New Zealand columnist Rosemary McLeod also points to the problem, although without any concrete solution:
Raising the social status of scientists
By contrast to Deen, I doubt very much that any women pant after Stephen Wolfram, the balding and totally average-looking maths genius, now middle-aged, who wrote his first book on particle physics at the age of 14 and had a PhD at 20.A lot of should, but no way of getting there from here. Science, alas, isn't generally seen as all that alpha in the only metric that matters in the long run.
I mention this because somewhere in the great system of evolution there is a definite glitch that needs to be explained in a hurry if our species is to work out how to survive in this world we currently make such a mess of.
It is the likes of Wolfram we should be aiming our simpering selves at, surely, rather than an average Joe with a single, rather common ability that requires almost no IQ.
We should be wanting to breed - if sex still has any relation to reproduction - with blokes who are not only clever, but also rich.
We should thrill to words like "cosmology" and "quantum field theory", then, for the very good reason that we haven't a clue what they mean, but guess that they may come in handy one day.
Rugby, on the other hand, does not lack for social approbation.
On Saturday, New Zealand learned that we had lost one of our greatest minds. Sir Paul Callaghan, the 2011 New Zealander of the Year, held many accolades including being a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. His list of credentials are as long as they are impressive. However, despite this, his death and ultimate loss to New Zealand was relegated to the fourth most important news item on both One News and 3 News, something I thought was worth lamenting.It's lamentable, but perfectly understandable. Media plays to what the public wants in a competitive marketplace. And here they want rugby and mostly reckon scientists a bunch of tosser eggheads who should be forced to find real jobs. Not that it's particularly better anywhere else.
Only 11 days earlier, another Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit member passed away. His death lead both bulletins. This of course was Jock Hobbs: former All Black and the man who has been bestowed the honor of saving New Zealand rugby and of securing the 2011 Rugby World Cup hosting rights.On the day the Jock Hobbs died, both networks deemed the story as being more ‘important’ (i.e. higher up in the bulletin) than news of a major breach of privacy at ACC, the conflict in Syria, the Urewera 4 trial, Asia Air X ending its service to Christchurch, the Ports of Auckland strike and the Chris Cairns libel case.Compare this to when Sir Paul Callaghan passed away, One News thought the return of a sporting event to Christchurch, the refit of a sports stadium and an incident involving a hot air balloon in which everyone was safe were more important. 3 News had the jailing of a Kiwi duped into smuggling cocaine in Argentina, the cost to rent a house in Auckland and President Obama’s statement about a killed teenager in Florida.Re-read that list of stories again. Is it not appalling? Is it not disrespectful? Could you go as far as asking if it’s fair, balanced or even reasonable?
We'll know things have changed when scientists have groupies. I'm not betting on its ever happening. I remember stories about one socially obtuse grad student (a few years ahead of me in school, and who will remain nameless) who went around introducing himself to ladies saying "Hi! I just had this paper published! I wrote this!" He was, unsurprisingly, unsuccessful. But I'd expect an athlete of similarly poor social skills would have found more success by saying "Hi! Look at my MVP ring!"