Is it just me or does Geek = Cool now? I don’t know if I’m getting old or if I’m just getting uncool (probably both! If indeed I ever was cool) but there seems to me to be an increase both in presence and in positive perception of Science (and technology) these days.
When I was at school, the nerdy kids were on the bottom rung of the social ladder, so to speak – not that I was at the top, as in most of my life I was average, middle of the road, both in intelligence and in social stature. It strikes me that when they were at school, the likes of Bill Gates, Stephen Fry and Wil Wheaton were also on that bottom rung (OK, probably not Wil Wheaton). But look at them now – Uber Cool!! (Well Wil and Stephen certainly, Bill’s more just Uber rich.)
Maybe it’s because I’m older and more confident in myself that I can admit to being in awe of people who know a lot more than I do, but more so, I can admit that what they know is really, really interesting.
I think (and this is my personal point of view) that the media (normally the root of most evil in today’s society, another personal opinion) have finally found ways of bringing science to the masses in ways that are interesting and entertaining.
Two of my favourite TV shows, currently, are Wonders of the Solar System and The Big Bang Theory. The great thing about Wonders of the Solar System is that it’s presenter, Prof. Brian Cox, is a) fairly young (i.e. not your typical wacky old Professor) b) an ex-drummer who hasn’t lost his rock band look and c) translates the science into real life issues, making it easier to understand.
The Big Bang Theory (which is hilarious, I’m addicted to it completely and Sheldon Cooper Phd is my favourite, favourite, favourite!) at first glance may appear to make fun of science (and non-science) stereotypes, but actually it’s an homage. The message is quintessentially “we’re all the same”. Some of us know things about some stuff and some of us know things about others.
I’ve even been keeping an eye on the events at CERN and watched with amazement and excitement, yesterday, as they re-created THE Big Bang in the Hadron Collider!
Maybe it’s the benefit of wisdom (yes, relative to my teenage self I am wise-er) that helps me see the importance of science and how and where it touches each of our lives every day, as individuals and as a global nation. When I was 14 I genuinely couldn’t understand why I would need to know how buoyancy, translational dynamics or circuits worked. After all I had bigger things to worry about like whether I should wear the ra-ra skirt or the MC Hammer pants to the Teeny Bopper disco on Friday night and whether Jon from 3C would be there.
Now I wish I’d paid more attention in school so that I could live in the world of Star Trek (who doesn’t want to be in that movie? Zach Quinto was astounding! I digress…) … live in the world of Star Trek travelling time and space (though with my body shape I’d probably have to give the tight catsuits a miss… more digression, sorry).
It’s probably too late for me now, but luckily I have a baby on the way. And, not that I want to re-live my life through my kid but, God! I hope Strawbug (my baby to be – see previous post for explanation) turns out to be a super geek!! A super cool one, of course 😉