Saturday, March 13, 2010

(Dr) Pam Waddell Is An Idiot

(Dr) Pam Waddell is yet another academic with too much time on her hands. According to her 'research' one in ten school pupils think that Buzz Lightyear, the enthusiastic animated hero in Disney's Toy Story, was the first man on the Moon. Others thought it was Luke Skywalker.

(Dr) Waddell (I can pretty much guarantee she's not a real doctor) released her 'research' as a publicity gimmick to publicise National Science And Engineering Week.

What (Dr) Pam doesn't get is that more than one-in-ten school pupils have a decent sense of humour and recognise stupid questions when they are asked them. I am pretty sure that all kids are aware of who Buzz Lightyear is but thought it would be fun to pull (Dr) Pam's chain. And does anyone really believe that any child actually thinks that Noel Edmonds invented the telephone? Well, (Dr) Pam does!

She's obviously the type of reseacher who releases 'statistics' and 'information' as a way of promoting her cause. Expect to see her promoting global warming before long!

Anyway, here's the story -

Buzz Lightyear has finally found the true recognition he craves throughout the animated children's film Toy Story.

According to one in 10 school pupils the CGI character was the first man on the moon.

In their minds it was Buzz, not Neil Armstrong who first took one small step for man.

They could be forgiven. At least Buzz, with his motto To Infinity and Beyond, is an astronaut - of sorts.

Other children taking a science test thought Sir Richard Branson, the legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong and even the Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker were first to the moon.

Dr Pam Waddell, of Birmingham Science City looked at answers given by 1,000 primary and secondary school children in the tests, in advance of National Science and Engineering Week, which runs until March 21.

She said: "While some findings raise a smile, it suggests that school children aren't tuned into our scientific heroes in the same way that they moght be to sporting or music legends."

That's something of an understatement when it comes to the question of who invented the telephone. Three quarters of pupils gave the correct answer: Alexander Graham Bell.

But others said Charles Darwin, Noel Edmonds and even The Queen.

A third of boys thought Isaac Newton discovered fire, while others said it was DNA, the internet or the United States (it was the theory of gravity, if anyone is wondering).


Anonymous said...

Agree that Pam Waddell's research is idiotic. But please remember that for every idiot with a PhD, you'll find another that has pushed the edge of knowledge forward. You get good and bad medical doctors, and you get good and bad PhDs. I shook the hand of a man with a PhD on the day he won his nobel prize and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't rank as a "real" doctor in your terms. So please, a little more respect for people with PhDs. They get paid crap, get little cudos, and are behind practically every discovery in Science and Medicine. And yes, there are some duds among them, as there are dud writers and dud medics. K&M Melbourne

Unknown said...

To be fair, Waddell didn't conduct the survey, OnePoll did. She's director of Birmingham Science City, who presumably commissioned the research for a bit of cheap publicity, and while it's a bit crass, Waddell is a "proper" doctor. It doesn't take much effort to find published physiological research written by her. If you're going to criticise lazy research, you'd better not be lazy yourself.

Stephen Leather said...

Nah, Will, as a former scientist myself I don't regard a PhD as an excuse to call yourself a doctor. When someone is sick on a plane and the stewardess shouts 'is there a doctor on board?' I expect only real doctors to raise their hands. I wouldn't want (Dr) Pam to be saying 'let me through, I've written scientific papers and am director of Birmingham Science City!'

Stephen Leather said...

And Anonymous, some of my best friends have PhDs. And yes they're underpaid which is why I didn't take up the postgrad post that I was offered back in the days when I was a world authority on 5-hydroxytyptophan receptors.... But really, they shouldn't be calling themselves doctors... Real doctors fix people when they are sick. And come on, how can we take (Dr) Pam seriously when she puts out tosh like this?

Anonymous said...

Lets start by saying that I agree with your post, but for the record;
I was led to understand that the title Doctor is honoured to those with a Phd.
Medical Doctors are so called as a matter of courtesy and this originated a long while back so as the learned fellows (many engaged in research) would be trusted by the public.
I understand this is why surgeons and specialists revert back to the title of Mr.
Could be wrong, but I still get your point.

Anyhow Biochemist, why make shepherd face a dirty bomb when you could use your expertise to give us all a truly horrible bio bomb or outbreak Stephen.