Astrophysicist Matthew Bailes writes in The Conversation:
Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar.
Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded that it was certain to be crystalline. In other words, we had discovered a planet made of diamond. …
Our host institutions were thrilled with the publicity and most of us enjoyed our 15 minutes of fame. The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been.
How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists.
Imagine for a minute that, instead of discovering a diamond planet, we’d made a breakthrough in global temperature projections.
Let’s say we studied computer models of the influence of excessive greenhouse gases, verified them through observations, then had them peer-reviewed and published in Science.
Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings.