There’s an advertising feature in the latest GQ that champions 17 “Rock Stars of Science.” Each ad includes a genuine rock music star alongside three or four genuine scientists, some Nobel laureates among them. The idea is to make science sexy.

i-7ba544e0ad05e5cfedcf0ec83db4f730-RSOSad.jpgWill it work? Chris Mooney, co-author of Unscientific America, is one of the minds behind the campaign. if you want to know more about it, head on over to his Intersection blog, where he writes about the risks of the project:

Was it an absolute requirement for them to carry on like this (see right) to make their point?

Unfortunately yes–if they were to break through to a public besotted by “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

“Scientists must venture outside their comfort zones to show the public how cool – and how important – their work really is,” opines Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and one of the 2009 Rock S.O.S.™ founding fathers. “I’m thrilled to see all of these big-name musicians using their star power to shine a spotlight on science.

It is too soon to tell if this experiment will accomplish much. I hope it does something. With Debbie Harry on board, folks from my generation might pay attention, although I suspect GQ’s audience skews younger. So far, though, the researchers are mostly taken from the life sciences (plus one astronaut). What would happen if, say, we tried to do the same with climatologists? I’m thinking James Hansen (already kind of a rock star, with his penchant for getting arrested in front of coal-fired power plants), Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Phil Jones?

Would this kind of slick public outreach only further alienate those who, thanks to slanderous propaganda campaigns, are already skeptical of the entire field’s integrity, or would it engender more respect? Is it too late to salvage climatology’s reputation among the far right, or should we even worry about that?

Actually, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Grist magazine have made baby steps down this path with a series of profiles, the latest of which features glaciologist Julienne Strove. But this approach — “the climatologists who are helping to save the planet–and your ass!” is a far cry from the Rock Stars campaign.

Me, I’m just glad to see that somebody’s making an effort. Better to experiment than to sit back and moan about how science is getting short shrift from our educational system and the mainstream media. The Rock Stars of Science are to be congratulated for daring to be different. Here’s a list of them:

  • Stephen B. Baylin, M.D., Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins; Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Dream Team Leader
  • Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate; AACR President; Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF; Member, Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A. (ret.), Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General, Director, Health and Medicine, Center for the Study of the Presidency/Congress.
  • Dr. Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Autism Speaks, Founding Director, University of Washington Autism Center.
  • Frank L. Douglas, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Austen BioInnovation Institute
  • Bernard A. Harris, Jr., M.D., MBA, FACP, former NASA astronaut; Founder and President, The Harris Foundation
  • Catriona Jamieson, M.D., Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies, UCSD, Director, Stem Cell Research, Moores UCSD Cancer Center
  • Emil Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., President, Kakkis EveryLife Foundation
  • Frank M. Longo, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Dept of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University Medical School, Founder, Pharmatrophix.
  • Joan Massaguė, Ph.D., Chair, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Executive Committee, Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center
  • Mehmet Oz, M.D., Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery, Columbia University; Director, Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine, NYPH, Host, Doctor Oz Show
  • Eric M. Reiman, M.D., Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Chief Scientific Officer, Banner Research Institute
  • Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate; Institute Professor, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT; Chairperson, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Executive Committee, Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center
  • Craig B. Thompson, M.D., President/CEO, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Chairman, Executive Committee, Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center
  • Mehmet Toner, Ph.D., Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Surgery (Bioengineering), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; SU2C Dream Team Co-leader
  • Michael W. Weiner, M.D., Director, Principal Investigator, ADNI (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuro-Imaging Initiative) Professor, Medicine, Radiology, and Psychiatry, UCSF

Comments

  1. #1 mad the swine
    November 17, 2010

    Rock stars of climatology, huh? You guys tried that with Al Gore. How’d that go for you?

    Making ‘rock stars’ out of climatologists won’t work, for a very obvious reason. Global warming is a fraud and a lie, as any unbiased examination of the scientific data shows. If any individual climatologist comes to public notice, the public will compare his or her particular contributions to the evidence, and he or she will inevitably be exposed as a fraud and a falsifier of data.

    The only way climatologists have avoided this so far is to present themselves as small parts of a greater ‘scientific consensus’, so that disproving one paper doesn’t disprove the whole edifice (the edifice is completely composed of false claims, but whatever). Publicizing individuals would subvert this camouflage mechanism and discredit climatology even further than it already has been.

  2. #2 Fred Magyar
    November 17, 2010

    mad the swine, Um, never mind, just continue enjoying your wallow in the fetid mud of delusion, I guess that is as good a place as any, for someone who self identifies as porcine…

    “If any individual climatologist comes to public notice, the public will compare his or her particular contributions to the evidence, and he or she will inevitably be exposed as a fraud and a falsifier of data.”

    Unfortunately a public constituted mostly of scientifically and mathematically illiterate village idiots, isn’t exactly qualified to judge much of anything. Most of the public is hard pressed, when it comes to distinguishing their anus from their own cephalus, being that they seem to have this innate tendency to insist on bending themselves in to toroidal shapes.

  3. #3 Militant Agnostic
    November 17, 2010

    Woo meister Mehmet Oz is included in the list. He is anti-vaccination and advocates such new age nonsense as reiki. He is an enemy of science. Climate scientists should be glad they are not included in this list.

  4. #4 OMG The Climate CHANGES?
    November 17, 2010

    Rick Astley would be the obvious choice. The whole bs climate scare scam has long since been completely Rick Rolled.

    You’re going to have to let it go at some point Jimmy. Suggest you just go ahead and get started on the first step of the grieving process if you don’t want to waste the second half of your life also.

  5. #5 Adam R.
    November 17, 2010

    Two denialist nitwit comments already? They must be hanging on your blog like remoras, James.

    “Global warming is a fraud and a lie, as any unbiased examination of the scientific data shows.”

    Haw! They’re the ones who keep saying the data is faked! Funny stuff.

  6. #6 tütüne son
    November 18, 2010

    Woo meister Mehmet Oz is included in the list. He is anti-vaccination and advocates such new age nonsense as reiki. He is an enemy of science. Climate scientists should be glad they are not included in this list.

  7. #7 yogi-one
    November 19, 2010

    Climatologists Rock!

    Denialists S–K big time!

    Rock on, scientists!

  8. #8 b
    November 19, 2010

    It would backfire for climate scientists, who need to be seen as ultra-trustworthy and anti-slick.

    The semi-exception is showing climate scientists in the 5% of their time that’s spent doing exciting field work, clambering around on glaciers, etc. That would add public credibility, and leave bitter tears on the faces of sofa-bound denialists.

  9. #9 jacob l
    November 19, 2010

    how about the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect itself?
    not a person but a few simple verifiable ideas.

  10. #10 Serially!
    November 21, 2010

    take your gloves off. take your socks off. take yo underwear off. git down and dirty. git on your knees and DIG the hell into the RAW data. Not only the data itself, but the meta data, and all of it’s random “variances” and “adjustments” in the name of ?????????????something????

    git in there deep. and rummage around. you won’t. because you are a BELIEVER. “SOMEONE showed “DATA and GRAPHS”! Therefore I BELIEVE!

    if you are HALF a scientist…. you will come out smelling BAD………..and ADMIT it.

    or just be a tard and accept the intellectual summary of the actual RAW data……

    There are ZERO! intellectually honest “scientists” that don’t depend on tax money to support their families, that would come within a MILE of the AGW Official “Record”.. That’s just a fact. I should know. And I do.