In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama told us we are now in the midst of a new "Sputnik moment," in which we need to respond to the scientific vigor of our international competitors with a little scientific vigor of our own. He suggested that we as a nation need to learn to celebrate the winner of the science fair as much as we celebrate the winner of the Super Bowl. Good luck with that, Mr. President! In my recent book, Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies and Trekkies Can Save America...and Why They Might Be Our Last Hope, I take a look at the developmental psychology and cultural history of the nerd stereotype. Why is it that we instruct our children that people who are good at math, science and engineering are also creepy, unsexy and repulsive? A quick tour through our distant and recent cultural history shows what Mr. Obama is up against in his quest to get us all to celebrate the winner of the science fair.
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