man,, smiling.Role models are useful to inspire us. As I entered the study of science, I became aware of many who had forged the, smiling.Portrain of womanformal portrain of man.formal portrait of man, 2.



I was  especially attracted to some because of any of a variety of attributes:  their commitment, contributions, genius,  energy, leadership.


These were individuals who came from a variety of different communities: politics, military, science, conservation. man, smiling csman, smiling.



One thing they had in common was a capability to fly above the fray, to recognize the not-so-obvious connections between society’s needs and scientific opportunities.


They also had an abiding optimism.  Most of those who have great influence on science are skeptical optimists.  They question everything, but know that in so doing they will seed progress.


Here are images of those who, early in my career, became what I call my Champions of Science.

They have remained so over the years.


I’m wondering if you can identify them. And whether you agree about their standing.

Who are your champions in your field? How have they influenced your work/your life?

I invite you to comment to this blog.


In an upcoming entry, we’ll post the names of those pictured here.



-Rick Spinrad
Vice President for Research
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4 thoughts on “Champions of Science

  1. Richard Feynman, second down on the right, inspired me with his sense of humor and creative insights. While I didn’t follow him into physics, I found his willingness to have fun and to struggle to find his own interpretation of facts to be a model. As a writer, I aim to learn and understand to the point of owning a story, so I can tell it with conviction. Feynman certainly owned his.

  2. I’m sorry that there was only one woman in this list. What about Marie Curie? Josephine Baker? Jane Goodall?

    In my field Margaret Mead was an inspiration and a gifted cultural preservationist and Anthropologist. How about some contemporary women who have served OSU, like Jane Lubchenko?

  3. Bottom one is Jacques-Yves Cousteau:
    Jacques Cousteau; 11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997)[1] was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was also known as “le Commandant Cousteau” or “Captain Cousteau”.
    I have followed his discoveries over the years, and my daughter worked for his son, Jean Michel Cousteau for five years.

  4. Unfortunately, as I was growing up there weren’t a lot of women or minorities active in the environmental sciences. I’m delighted to see that changing, and certainly people like my friend Jane Lubchenco are the role models for young scientists today. If I were starting out in science today I’d certainly add Rita Colwell (former NSF Director) and Marcia McNutt (Director of the US Geological Survey and Chief Scientists of the Dept of Interior) to that list. – RS

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