Saint: Sherry Turkle
In April the MIT social scientist succinctly put into words a frustration shared by many: Technology is compromising conversation and relationships. Through texting and online social media, people are obsessively controlling their connections with others, selectively sharing personal information and decreasingly forming strong relationships. Turkle is not a whiny Luddite: She has been studying the social impact of technology for 15 years.
The Tennessee governor expressed concerns after he received a bill in March enabling the teaching of creationism in the state’s public schools. But instead of vetoing it, he let it sit on his desk and become law. Tennessee now joins Louisiana, the only other state with a so-called academic freedom law—a policy that allows instructors to challenge established scientific theories like evolution and teach unfounded alternatives.
In Purgatory: Dario Autiero and Antonio Ereditato
Last September Ereditato (right) announced that Opera, an Italian physics experiment, had clocked neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light. Six months later, after discovering that a loose cable had skewed their data, he and Autiero (left) resigned. Did they announce the findings too early? Yes. But to their credit, they invited other physicists to try to prove them wrong. Plus, when was the last time the public cared so much about the theory of relativity?