October 24, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

We need an annual American awards ceremony for scientists

My family is excited about the Grammys.

Some members like the Oscars.

We are not so into the Tonys, but millions of Americans are into them.

We need an awards ceremony, maybe even a show for scientists.

Scientists will never be the stars that artistic performers are, but it is sad and arguably a sign of a serious problem that nearly no Americans can name a living, prominent scientist.

Of course there are some big deal awards for scientists such as international awards like the Noble Prize. There are also some prestigious American awards for science too such as the Lasker Awards, often called the American Noble Prize. Many scientific societies give out awards such as new investigator awards at the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting. However, I think that is not enough.

I believe that America needs a more prominent all-encompassing annual awards ceremony for scientists akin to the Grammys for musical performers. There would be overall winners such as “Best scientist” of the year, but also more specific categories such as ‘cancer researcher of the year”, “physicist of the year”, “best new scientist”, “heart disease researcher of the year”, “stem cell researcher of the year”, etc. In fact there could be dozens of categories.

Such a ceremony would serve to increase popular interest in science and scientists in America at a time when science is under attack and undervalued.

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