It's obvious that our society needs heroes. A model for our kids. Long ago the figure of the Hero was represented by the oral tradition and later immortalized in written manuscripts. Today the landscape is extremely different, our heroes are provided by the mass media. Today's heroes are soccer professionals that are immortalized in matches and championships that are shown every day in the TV of our house.
In case you do not like soccer professionals, don't worry, you still have the option to choose the other type of heroes: film and song stars. In this case the playground in which they are immortalized are not matches but in Festivals or Awards such as Grammy, Emmy or Oscar.
They all share, of course, the main pillars of our modern society: Beauty, Youth and Wealth. And they are our Heroes.
On the other side, I am tired to listen to the radio and TV that we should build other models based on Effort and Knowledge. To support these pillars we do have an Award: the Nobel prize. This prize rewards latest findings, relevant to our society, in the different fields of Human Knowledge (Physics, Economy, Literature, ...). But let's face it, how many of you know which was the Nobel Prize in Physics the year 2010?
Ok, it was for the scientists that discovered the graphene. For those well informed that knew it, then answer me: which is the day-to-day use of the graphene? Please tell me because I have no idea. Yes, it is supposed to make a giant leap in semiconductor devices, aviation, solar cells and so on. But let's be honest, these applications are going to benefit from the graphene in only the next five to ten years (minimum). Don't get me wrong, I think that this is certainly a great achievement and will certainly affect our lives, I was only trying to put an example on why the science is so far from mortals. The link of science to our daily lives is practically non-existent! And yet all our lives are surrounded by Science and Technology. We simply take them for granted!
I really think that something should be done to correct this. And I think that a partial solution would be to celebrate a more popular Festivals in which different scientists, technologists, philosophers, industrial designers ... are nominated and awarded for their contributions to our day-to-day life (to my knowledge there is none, please let me know if I am wrong). A great example to follow would be the structure of the TED conferences, in which experts in a specific topic explain their experiences (in all fields of Human Knowledge) for the mortal people that is not at all literate in what they explain.
Of course, transmit such a Festival through the mass media and, certainly, Science would be seen with a very different perspective.
At least, the Olympus of Heroes of our kids' imagination would not only be populated by successful sportsmen, actress or actors but also by scientists and, maybe, even philosophers.