Apr 8, 2010

Beauty contests for promoting science?

I was browsing the printed edition of a local newspaper (for a London borough), and a brief story caught my eye: Top genes expert is UK Miss India.

To be honest, I had to read the headline twice to grasp its meaning. "Top genes expert" is not a very common expression (actually, I searched Google and found no results, which is remarkable these days!). And "UK Miss India" was also a little confusing to me... but it may be just me.

The story was about a local resident who happened to win a beauty contest. Nothing special here -- lots of pretty people live in my neighbourhood :) . What caught my attention was that the beauty queen works as "a stem cell researcher at Imperial College Healthcare Trust." At the official Imperial College website I found that she is a professional model and actress, and "she intends to spend her reign promoting science and medicine, while undertaking community projects."

First I should say that I admire anybody who does research and, at the same time, is engaged in a different activity in a professional way (not just as a hobby). I wasn't capable to do that in my research days.

Anyway, I used to think that beauty contests and science popularization were two unconnected issues. But now I'm not so sure. Science can be promoted in many different ways...

Perhaps a modified version of today beauty contests could be used for the promotion and popularization of science.

What do you think? Do you know of any examples of this, or anything similar?

Somewhat related links:
- Science Babes and Science Hunks. I, Science (a science magazine for Imperial College), 15th January 2010. A list of sexy scientists in cinema.
- Sexy Science- "a look into the hottest science currently going on today and the hot scientists behind that work." Or so they say...
- Science Babe - "the science of everyday life". The first video, "The physics of high heels", is interesting. I'm curious about how this effort for science popularization will develop...
- We're scientists AND we're sexy! - a Facebook group.
- Sexy Science - stock photographic images. It seems that you may become a sexy scientist by wearing a white labcoat and big glasses, AND looking like an expressionless robot...
- Geeks are Sexy - "tech, science, news and social issues for geeks".

the science of fizz
Beauty and sexiness are relative concepts. You may find this scientist pretty or attractive in some way...

Image credits: the science of fizz, by goopymart. This image is included here under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Creative Commons license.

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Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, blog posts by Cesar Sanchez in Twisted Bacteria are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Please let me know if any quotes or images on this blog are improperly credited. E-mail: TwistedBacteria AT gmail DOT com . Social media icons by Oliver Twardowski and AddThis.