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A Science Laureate

Who would you nominate for Scientist Laureate, if such a position existed?

That’s the question they are asking us this week. And everyone is answering E.O. Wilson. This, of course, comes with the caveat that if Carl Sagan were alive today, he’d be the obvious choice.

If we can’t get Carl Sagan, why not go after the guy Nick Matzke calls “the new Carl Sagan”? Nick’s post is in response to this article in the NYTimes about the Beyond Belief meeting — where science, religion, and atheism were discussed. Nick thinks Neil deGrasse Tyson stood out because, instead of attacking the religious or evangelical atheists, he celebrated the science.

Dr. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium, which is part of the American Museum of Natural History. He is a trained astrophysicist, which contrast nicely with the nomination of the biologist Wilson. Also, Tyson’s current job is popularizing science, which makes him a natural fit as Science Laureate. And he’s a regular on the Colbert Report.

So, consider this a nomination for someone besides E.O. Wilson. Because this is America, and we like to have multiple candidates from which to chose — even if we can’t be assured our vote will be tallied.