Here’s the story of the disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk.
Before he was found out, he’d raised false hopes of finding cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s..
He was at one stage a national hero.
I’m not suggesting he did it because of pressure at all, but it does show the tremendous store – and hope -we place on science without (and i’m happy to include myself here) necessarily understanding it.
Here’s a sample of some of the stories that have been incredibly popular on news sites around the world in this last week or so :
* Womb transplants could take place within 2 years…
* A review of an HIV vaccine in Thailand concludes it shows real signs of a protective effect….
* Will enough people in the U.S get the swine flu vaccination ?
and it’s not just health stories :
* a new paint to thwart a chemical attack…
*the Hadron Collider being “sabotaged from the future”
And here’s an article from a couple of years ago talking about the drive to get funding puts pressure on scientists to hoax…
and another more recently..
Is there too much pressure put on scientists by a public hungry for solutions to their problems?
What about the media ? Do the media was easily digestible ‘top lines’ to stories that don’t reflect scientific complexities?