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Rock Stars of Science? Not Cool.

By sandymaple |

bill nye the science guy

Bill Nye, the original rock star of science.

Can you name one living scientist?  Besides Bill Nye the Science Guy?  What about your kids?  Can they do it?  No?  Well, you are not alone.

According to a Research America poll, half of the general public would be stumped if asked the same question.  But while our collective ignorance about science and the men and women who work in that profession isn’t all that surprising, those in the science community are worried about it.

Believing that science suffers from an image problem, Rock Stars of Science has recruited actual rock stars to appear alongside scientists in a print ad campaign aimed at making kids think science is cool.  But will the message actually reach its target audience?

Science is cool and I am all for encouraging kids to learn more about what’s happening in the science community.  But I fear the ad campaign is going to fall far short of its goal to interest kids in the subject. Premiering in December’s GQ magazine, the ads feature rock stars that are likely as unkown to most kids as the scientists with whom they are posing.

Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Poison’s Bret Michaels and Timbaland are great and all, but their music won’t be found on the average kid’s iPod.  And GQ magazine?  What an odd place to put ads aimed at children.

If kids get anything at all out of this campaign, it probably won’t be what the Rock Stars of Science people are hoping.  Rather than realize that it’s cool, they may decide that science is about old people you’ve never heard of doing stuff you don’t care about.

I have a better idea for getting kids interested in science:  Bring Bill Nye the Science Guy back to television.  He doesn’t need to pose with rock stars to be cool because he is rock-star cool all by himself.

Image: Bill Nye

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About sandymaple

sandymaple

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0 thoughts on “Rock Stars of Science? Not Cool.

  1. Bec says:

    It seems to me that on Babble, it is assumed that everything “cool” is for kids. I didn’t see any indication on the Rock Stars for Science website that this is an endeavour targeted at children, but you’ve clearly made that assumption despite the “adult” musicians and GQ. You even open the post by pointing out that adults are not familiar with modern scientists… is it that hard to imagine that the project is aimed at those same adults?

  2. Kikiriki says:

    I’m with Bec – I imagine that the campaign is aimed at adults, and perhaps they will start talking to their kids about it. I AM a nerd, though, because I can name a bunch of living scientists, even though I’m not a scientist myself. Comes from marrying a scientist and going to all those IgNobel prize award ceremonies.

  3. Kikiriki says:

    I also have to wonder, will the ads feature Greg Graffin, who is a punk rock star AND a scientist?

  4. Manjari says:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson! Watson and Crick (okay, only Watson is still alive). I can’t think of anymore off the top of my head… but scientists are already cooler than rock stars!

    No my kids can’t name any scientists yet, but they don’t know any rock stars yet either.

  5. AwesomeCloud's mom says:

    Rebecca Skloot (cell research), Greg Laden (archaeology), Richard Evans Schultz and Mark Plotkin (ethnobotany)… the guy who led the Burgess Shale party, whose name I totally forget now… ack. Butterfield, that was him.

  6. LogicalMama says:

    My eight year old son recently told me that his favorite modern day scientist is Micio Kaku. And he also loves the guys from MythBusters, as well as Bill Nye.

  7. Emil Kakkis says:

    Comments
    I think people are taking the ads a little too literally that simply showing scientists with rock stars will make them cool. I think it is a clearer statement that all of us should consider how important science is to us, and think about whether we should give them more equal billing and recognition with rock stars as a society. The ad does start the conversation and hopefully it goes deeper. Today most kids only see evil visions of scientists in movies, and boring takes on science in high school, but the reality is that once you get trained, science so creative and challenging that we need our best, boldest, rule-breakers to take it on and move it forward. I know RSOS will start the conversation, and I hope we will all continue it.

    From a current RSOS Emil Kakkis, (small picture behind Jay Sean)

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