Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sexy scientists?

Cross-posted from nanopolitan 2.0, which is now active. Please visit me at my other home, and (if you feel like it) do tell me what you think.

While at it, I might as well point to this particular post, in which I wrote about a recent op-ed by Prof. Ranjit Nair on this year's physics Nobel, and he has come by to offer a comment.

Science is sexy, but scientists?

Yeah, I know the idea sounds spooky. But there is this uber-elite club, and I know quite a few among my colleagues who would qualify.

Check out the list of 10 Sexiest Geeks of 2005, compiled by the folks at Wired. Quite a few of the good looking ones in the list are people who have mastered the new media options offered by the internet (ermm, Web 2.0). The list also features at least two scientists:

  • Wise Young (you’ve got to love that name!), “a world-renowned spinal cord injury researcher” at Rutgers University. He also runs CareCure, an online community devoted to “the art and science of managing therapies, routines, medication, supplies, equipment and everything else needed to maintain the spinal injured person in top health..”
  • Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University, who specializes in “neurophysiology of economic decision making”. One of his recent papers is on “neuroeconomics of distrust: sex differences in behaviour and physiology”. It sounds really interesting, and I would love to link to it, except that the link on his site doesn’t work!

I am sure some of the more hardened souls among you wouldn’t take Wired’s word; hey, they *are* the techies, and they can be weird, right? I wouldn’t blame you if you want some real, serious evidence that will convince everyone of the existence of sexy scientists. Tell you what: just wear your seatbelt, and get ready to go to that ultimate destination where good taste and great judgement rule. The People magazine!

People has featured, in its “Sexiest Man Alive” issue,   Michael Manga, an academic in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. [link via inkycircus, a group blog by three women who are in the process of starting a science magazine for women. This particular post (and other such posts) are listed under the category: “men whose babies we want to bear”!]