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Science Celebrities

  1. Aug 19, 2010 #1
    The Science Channel will be showing a special 1hr MythBusters program next week. In the promotional video for the show, one of the attractions offered are "science celebs" (Michio Kaku is briefly shown).

    I understand the Science Channel, Discovery, et al need to add entertainment value to their programming but I find the promotion of "science celebs" a bit inappropriate; this may lead to a dangerous situation where the "accepted" science is the one espoused by the "most popular" person and not necessarily the individual with the hard evidence.

    Corollary: I know Albert Einstein was arguably the first "science celebrity" but at least the man occupied most of his time doing research. In contrast, guys like Michio Kaku seem to invest an obscene amount of time doing radio, television, etc. Where do these people find time to do research?
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  3. Aug 19, 2010 #2

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    According to Spires, Kaku's last published paper (not counting articles) was in 2000, and before that it was in 1993. His h-index is 23. To compare, an assistant professor in theory that I know has published 46 papers since 2000, and has an h-index of 41.

    Does that answer your question?
  4. Aug 19, 2010 #3


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    I think it's fair to have some people serving as emissaries to the public that educate laypeople about science, even if that cuts into their productivity as actual scientists. I agree this shouldn't invest these people with any additional clout in the academic community, though. I'm not sure I see why it would.
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