I was watching an interview with Annie Lennox recently. She commented that a lot of people wanted to be famous, but they didn’t really know why.
There are at least two things involved in fame. One is blind, clueless luck. The other is more interesting.
Fame indicates that someone has done something meaningful to other people. To have done something that resonates and connects with other people. And I think this is what a lot of artist, communicators, politicians, and many others want to be famous, because it means they’ve connected with a lot of people.
In science, you can get famous by making some nifty discovery totally by accident. Maybe it’s easier to get famous that way. Being famous for creating meaning, and influencing lives, seems much rarer for scientists.
Maybe that should change. Maybe more scientists should try to become famous not for discoveries, but for influencing people in a positive way.