Lubos Motl writes at his blog Reference Frame reviewing Nature Mag proclaiming top 10 Scientists for 2019. His article is Nature’s shocking “top ten” scientists. Excerpts below with my bolds.
Fer137 has told us about an incredible list published at Nature Nature’s 10.which is supposed to enumerate the most influential people in science of the year. As Alex correctly said, Nature basically became a new brand of toilet paper. How will they compare to Presto!?
Well, there have been numerous indications of this “evolution of purpose” of that journal but now they have jumped the shark, indeed.
As Nature openly admits, Ricardo Galvão was chosen for his being a Latin American “Amazon” activist and for his frictions with Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, whom the leftists at Nature consider politically incorrect. He clearly didn’t do anything revolutionary in the science of forests or in biology in general. In fact, he is a physicist!
Victoria Kaspi was clearly chosen for her failure to be male in a field that is overwhelmingly advanced by males, astrophysics. You should look for “fast radio bursts” at Google Scholar to become sure that she isn’t really a leader of this subfield. Even if you add CHIME, the name of her key experiment, to the query, it doesn’t become better.
Nenad Šestan was chosen for the good old left-wing “atheist” reasons. This guy works on the fuzziness of “brain death” so he can take people from God, thus proving the ill-definedness of the religious concepts including death itself. This would be a preferred scientific topic of the leftists some 20 years ago but these days, it’s no longer too hot. And incidentally, Nature just copied the name from the New York Times, a left-wing daily, that promoted Šestan in the summer. At any rate, he is one of the 3 or so actual star scientists in the list.
Sandra Díaz is a hot Venezulean model. OK, they meant this Sandra Díaz which is somewhat less pretty. She is both female and associated with the “biodiversity” hysteria. Clearly, no important advances in the “science of biodiversity” took place in the recent year or several years and she wasn’t the key in those that took place earlier.
Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum is Congolese and a racially pure black. At least, he is an actual co-discoverer of Ebola, a disease he still fights against. How important was he in the discovery of Ebola? Well, in 1976 the disease first appeared in Sudan and then in Zaire. In Zaire, Muyembe-Tamfum was just in charge of the doctors who were supposed to respond. Among other obvious things, he sent blood samples to Peter Piot. Clearly Piot was far closer to the actual discoverer of Ebola: Muyembe-Tumfum’s role is similar to that of Rosalind Franklin (or perhaps even to the unknown miner-in-chief in Jáchymov, Bohemia who sent the radium samples to Marie Sklodowska). The situations really are analogous. I am not the only one who sees it in this way. Wikipedia mentions:
In 2012, Piot published a book entitled “No Time to Lose” [see the clickable image] which chronicles his professional work, including the discovery of the Ebolavirus. He mentions Muyembe in passing rather than as a co-discoverer.
But Piot is a white man so, according to the fanatical racists at Nature, he must be censored and destroyed, right? In fact, even Piot’s claim that a passing was a passing was a heresy because the passing was black. Why would someone confuse a true scientist with someone who sent blood samples by the USPS? It’s like Penny’s discovery of a comet.
Yohannes Haile-Selassie found an old skull somewhere – one of many old skulls – but he is Ethiopian so he must automatically make it to the top ten as well, right? At least he has done some real research into the African hominids.
Wendy Rogers is both female and an activist talking about organ transplants in China; I didn’t have enough motivation to see what she says or wants because I don’t believe it’s important. Also, I wasn’t able to add a Wikipedia link because I think that her page doesn’t even exist. You may find a Republican politician and an actress of the name much more easily than this organ transplant activist. One paper with her name and “organ” has 28 citations, others are below 10. In the field focused on “organs” where she was named a member of “top ten”, she’s technically an unknown scientist according to the high energy physics criteria.
Deng Hongkui is arguably a real HIV-focused Chinese immunologist with quite some results.
John Martins leads the Google’s “quantum supremacy” advances in quantum computing. He clearly deserves to be there. Nature probably failed to notice that he is a white supremacist according to another article in Nature.Greta Thunberg… doesn’t really surprise us. She is the role model for everything that is bad about the interactions between science and the general society in 2019. She is a whining spoiled brat who refuses to go to school and who is correspondingly scientifically illiterate because of that and who, with quite some success, persuades other people that her hateful hysterical outbursts may compensate for her laziness and caution. She is the exact opposite of a young person who is close to science. Every teenager who does at least 10% of the things that Greta does should be spanked for several hours so that he cannot sit on his bottom for a week.
Nature also adds a “list whom to watch in science in 2020” that starts with António Guterres, the boss of the United Nations who completely lost his mind and who has become a little puddy of Greta Thunberg’s. Even if he weren’t a Greta’s puddy, it would be shocking to claim that being such a politically appointed bureaucrat makes one a top scientist.
At any rate, it’s terribly disappointing to see that a journal that used to be good – although it has played no role in my interest in science whatsoever – chooses way over 50% of its “best scientists” according to some extremist political or identity politics criteria. The individuals at Nature who are responsible for this outrageous page are harmful agents and should be treated as harmful agents.