No, this is not about a prequel to Ocean’s Eleven, but rather the list of “Ten people who mattered in science” published every year by Nature, once one of the most prestigious and respected scientific journals in the world and now, one of the Springer group of publications, an overpriced venue which combines conventional wisdom and slaver propaganda in the staff-written front-of-book material with scientific papers most of which have been available as pre-prints on arXiv and other repositories for months before their “official” publication.
Since 2011, the magazine has published a list called “Nature’s 10”, of the ten “people who mattered” in science. The magazine’s own description of the list is:
Nature’s 10 is the journal’s annual list of ten people who mattered in science this year. They might have achieved amazing discoveries, brought attention to crucial issues, or even gained notoriety for controversial actions. Although not an award or a ranking, Nature’s 10 highlights individuals who had a role in some of the year’s most significant moments in science.
The lists are, as you might expect, exquisitely diverse, carefully balanced among genders, races, countries, institutions, and fields of research. Many have been actual, you know, scientists.
Making the 2019 list is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate scold whose citation is as a “climate catalyst”, with the six paragraph encomium to her achievements concluding:
Many researchers hail Thunberg in particular for focusing attention on climate change and its catastrophic impacts. What she has achieved should motivate climate researchers to carry on with their science despite slow political action, says Seneviratne.
“Greta has inspired scientists along with activists and policymakers,” says Angela Ledford Anderson, director of the Climate and Energy programme at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC. In July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced sweeping measures to reduce carbon emissions, and acknowledged that the protests Thunberg ignited “drove us to act”.
But perhaps Thunberg’s biggest influence will be on the next generation of scientists, Anderson says. “Her mobilization of young people shows the rising generation expects science to inform policy,” she says, “and may inspire many to become scientists themselves.”
Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and…Greta.