One Great Reply to Our "Favorite Scientist" Query
Yesterday we invited you to tell us your favorite scientists.
The replies make for great reading. I would think that for anyone working in the field (science education, publishing, etc.) the answers could also be very useful.
One of my favorite lists comes from a reader named Hale McMichael, a University of Texas senior who is “about to graduate with a degree in Plan II (a somewhat obscure interdisciplinary honors program) and start medical school in the fall.”
You could argue with his choices endlessly of course. (No women!?) You could also accuse him of a bias toward scientists who write well (psst: I share this bias) or who employ him. But as this was an exercise in personal preference, I find Hale’s list to be just great.
1. Atul Gawande. Incredible surgeon, voracious researcher, and gripping writer.
2. Grant Willson. University of Texas chemist who has changed the semiconductor time and again; also gave me a job once.
3. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Hilarious, and has the most athletic background of any scientist I’ve ever seen.
4. Richard Dawkins. Excellent explainer of evolution, though I wish he would go back to writing about his passion and stop just arguing against other people’s beliefs.
5. Oliver Sacks. Most human medical writer alive.
6. Brian Greene. Not quite sure how I feel about string theory, but another great communicator.
7. Ken Miller. Biologist from Brown. Man of science, man of faith.
8. Grigori Perelman. They say an introverted mathematician looks at his shoes, and an extroverted mathematician looks at your shoes, but crazy mathematicians come from Russia, live with their mothers, publish genius yet scatterbrained proofs, and reject the Fields Medal. Classic.
9. Paul Offit. Vigilant crusader against the anti-vaccine nut cases.
10. Vladimir Mironov. Shmeat!!! “If it’s look like cat, O.K., it’s behave like cat and it’s make meow, then it’s cat.” So true.