Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I'm in two minds about this... I do lead a very weird life though so I'm thinking I'll go with it and see where I end up.

Left the lab on Monday and had a voicemail form someone at the PR agency that's dealing with the Science: [So What?] campaign regarding some media coverage. I've been in touch with them about articles, photos, videos etc for their website but the woman on the phone said that this was slightly different.

I called her back yesterday and she pitched her idea to me. They want to create a new breed of 'celebrities' who are keen scientists to help with their campaign. The idea is to create icons who can inspire young people to want to study science - to try to counteract the celebrity culture where people are idolised for having acheived nothing (except for, say, living in the Big Brother House). They want to celebrate talent in science the same way that we celebrate the nation's talented althletes. They also want to challenge the stereotype that scientists are boring/nerdy/old/wear labcoats and show that modern scientists actually look and act the same as anyone else.

However, they want to kick all this off with a spread in one of the midweek magazines like 'Hello' or 'OK'. It was at this point in our phone conversation where I became a bit sceptical. This was mainly due to the fact that, when I came back from the ISEF in America, I was asked to be one of the 'talented young people' on 'Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack'. They wanted me to play the role of 'the scientist' and I wanted nothing to do with it. I watched the first few episodes and was very glad that I'd turned down the offer. It was awful. And this pitch brough back those feelings.

It does seem, though, that Kindred wants to do the opposite and inspire young people to be famous for acheiving something, not just for the sake of being famous. And I suppose that the weekly magazines are a good way to reach out. Talking about science in these magazines helps to make science appear less elitist as well, which is a good thing.

Anyway, this is just the pitch so, like I said, lets see where this goes.

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