TED Conversations

Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut

Patent specialist/ Scientist, Rouse & Co International


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Celebrity scientists

From Richard Dawkin to Brian Cox, from Sean Carroll to E. O. Willson, they have gave their talks here at TED, been on media, inspired and raised much of debates.

Who is your favorite scientist? Who haven't yet been on TED and should be invited to be on TED? and why? What is your opinion on 'Sci-celebrities'? Are they good model for kids, good educator, inspiring icon, or they are over-rated?


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  • Jan 30 2013: Parents and teachers are ideally good models for kids because they are accessible. Many of these science celebrities are not available to anyone outside the media.

    Celebrity scientist who have an agenda outside promoting good science are over-rated. Unless there is a natural disaster, where a scientist is asked to comment, most are promoting a new book related to their brand of science. With that in mind, I think they are all over rated.

    Never seen one give a lecture on what it means to have good character and ethics as a scientist. What could be more important than that.
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      Jan 31 2013: I agree with you, Jamal, that many scientists who bask in the celebrity spotlight are over-rated. There are some who are the real thing. And some "science" celebrities are not scientists at all, though they may think of themselves that way, using "we" to include themselves in a category of which they are not a part. [We have a TED talk about neuro-bunk, the practice of trying to take legitimate scientific findings into illegtimate or pseudoscientific extrapolations. In my opinion we could use a similar talk about quantum bunk].
      • Feb 4 2013: Are you sure TED would allow a Quantum Bunk talk? Many celebrity scientist are quantum physicist or the like (String Theorist) and they have amazing influence in physics, astrophysics and mathematics. I know because they stopped the most important paper in all three fields from receiving the exposure the research deserves in the USA and Europe.

        Einstein's work is already complete, peer-review published, conferenced and it has a minor astronomy report outside the USA. The national and international public paid billions to see that research and its answers. I wish TED was the right forum to make the public aware.
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          Feb 4 2013: I would not expect TED to invite a talk that promotes pseudoscience. Technically that subject is also outside the terms of use of TED Conversations as well.

          The talk about neuro-bunk was not promoting false representations of neuroscience. Rather, it was about how people try to use legitimate science to support theories and products the science in no way supports. I would expect TED to allow a talk about how results in a science are in popular culture often distorted to support various agendae.
          Do you know the book written by an MIT physicist, I think, called Voodoo Science. It is specifically about these common misrepresentations and misinterpretations of science.
      • Feb 4 2013: TED invited Brian Greene, to talk about String Theory which is a pseudoscience. There is no experimental evidence today or expected to be in the future to support the claims he and other invitees make about strings.

        There are facts and then there is the interpretation of facts: String Theory is a pseudoscientific interpretation of real scientific observations. They have no problems promoting that brand of voodoo in any media outlets. It is the benefits of amazing influence. Let me guess, this MIT physicist did not include any of his fellow scientist at MIT. Princeton, Harvard and MIT are the centers for STring Theory
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          Feb 4 2013: I misunderstood you before.

          I read Voodoo Science so long ago that I cannot remember who he took on.

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