Most people have hear of Pasteur and his vaccinations, or John Snow and the Broad Street pump, and if I were to mention Salk or Sabin many people's ears would still perk up. However as time goes forward we no longer see scientists in the forefront. If you were to ask the typical American today to name one famous scientist I bet you they would all mention Einstein... and he lived ages ago, did amazing things, but lived long ago. We forget about the scientists who save our lives every day... take for example Maurice Hilliman, no one's heard of him...but everyone who has been through the American school system has taken at least 6 of his vaccinations. Someone who helped stop deadly diseases like mumps, measles, and hepatitis B has never been mentioned in one substantial news broadcast...
What happened? Louis Pasteur's results were printed in hundreds, if not thousands of newspapers in his day... Sabin and Salk each had prime spots in the Times and News Week for their polio vaccinations... Einstein was a cultural phenomenon and brilliant physicist. Back then the big names in the papers were the scientists just as much as anything else. Their research was destroying some of the terrors of the known world that had killed millions of children.
Why are scientists so forgotten now? Is it because the news prefers terrorists and politicians to scientists who are benefiting mankind with their vaccinations? Is it because the science has become "too complex" for the layman to care for it? Perhaps there have been too many 'false cures,' but for some reason the news latches onto the crackpots and not the reputable scientists. (there are many examples, but the HIV 'vaccination' and cold fusion are some of the first that come to mind) We hear plenty from people against genetically modified crops, never mind the untold billions of lives saved by higher crop yields especially in low income countries. We hear of mad attempts to clone the human genome, but not the scientists who discovered the cause for these genetic diseases. Wonder why little kids are more likely to say they want to be a movie star than a scientist.
How can we make these thinkers the new news bringers instead of the inane droning of the latest celebrity or sports star who was incarcerated? What does this society need to kickstart the thinking to make innovation keep up with the increasing flow of information? I don't know. But I'm thinking that having a few more scientists take the headlines for the research that is saving the world might be a good start. Who needs to hear of 16 insurgents in Nambia when you have the scientist formulating the cure for genetic lymphoma on your own doorstep?