For scientists about to rock, we salute you

时间:2019-03-08 01:16:01166网络整理admin

By Peter Aldhous (Image: Ben Watts / GQ / GeoffreyBeene Gives Back) (Image: Ben Watts / GQ / GeoffreyBeene Gives Back) (Image: Ben Watts / GQ / GeoffreyBeene Gives Back) (Image: Ben Watts / GQ / GeoffreyBeene Gives Back) (Image: Ben Watts / GQ / GeoffreyBeene Gives Back) Do you know a researcher who deserves the mantle “Rock Star of Science”? If so, you can now make your nominations online, upload photos and explain your choice. The Rock Stars of Science website, launched today by the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Foundation aims to raise the profile of biomedical research by associating some of its leading practitioners with luminaries of pop and rock. The first round of scientific rock stars, including Nobel prizewinner Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and AIDS specialist Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, are pictured in a promotional feature (pdf) in this month’s issue of GQ magazine alongside musicians including Sheryl Crow and of the Black Eyed Peas. “The energy on the set was just delicious,” says Meryl Comer, president of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, who came up with the idea and convinced the scientists and musicians to participate. She was motivated in part by a 2008 poll (pdf) that found that only 4 per cent of Americans could name a living scientist who could serve as a role model for young people. Geoffrey Beene was a fashion designer who died of cancer in 2004. Today, all of the profits of the company that bears his name go to his foundation, which supports research into cancer and Alzheimer’s. For the GQ photo shoot, the scientists were dressed in the firm’s designer menswear – which for some was a novel experience. “Neurologists are notoriously boring dressers,” admits Alzheimer’s researcher Steven DeKosky, dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, whose children soon disabused him of any notion of having rock star status: “They said: ‘Are you kidding me?'” The scientists were chosen for their contributions to research. But the two geneticists pictured with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry – Rudy Tanzi of the Massachusetts General Hospital, known for his discovery of genes for early onset Alzheimer’s, and former Human Genome Project leader Francis Collins – both have musical leanings. Tanzi is a keyboard player who was once a minor rock star in his own right – at the age of 17 he played with Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple fame, and continued to play in bands during his early scientific career. He still records jazz and ambient tracks in his home studio – you can download some samples here. Collins – expected to be nominated soon as director of the National Institutes of Health – is more of a musical novelty act. Early performances with a “supergroup” of NIH bigwigs eluded New Scientist‘s attempts to find incriminating video. But in recent years Collins has used invitations to speak at college graduation ceremonies to showcase a comedic rendition of My Way – played here on a custom “DNA double helix” guitar. While Collins clearly shouldn’t give up the day job, the newly anointed “rock stars” hope that the project will help associate fame and glamour with a career in research. “I’m worried that in the US, so few young people are going into science,” says Tanzi. Tanzi and Perry – who originally wanted to be a marine biologist, until dyslexia ruined his school career – got on especially well, talking excitedly about the similarities between musical and scientific creativity. “I couldn’t get Joe Perry out of the room when I was trying to interview Tanzi,” says Comer. But is an ageing rocker the best hope of enticing young people into science? “You may need to do another piece with musicians I’ve never heard of,” Tanzi jokes. More on these topics: