Use of 'mad scientist' sends negative message

To the editor:

The Eagle's coverage of youngsters' participation in science activities has generally been commendable. It's important to publicize activities that develop a sense of what science is about at an early age.

The photo on page B1 of the March 24 issue of The Eagle, showing youngsters working with active scientists, is a case in point — well, it would have been, had it not been for the headline. "Mad Scientists". The use of that expression demeans the whole enterprise and perpetuates a stereotype that, like all stereotypes, has no basis in reality. It sends a negative message to youngsters, reinforces the notion that they are "different" from others, and is a sure way to turn many of them off.

Scientists, engineers, mathematicians, others in technology fields, are not "mad": they are hardworking individuals dedicated to understanding the natural world and seeking solutions to important scientific and technological problems that will benefit humankind. That's what we want to encourage in our youngsters.

Next time, you might want to consider something like, "Budding Scientists."

Robert L. Lichter, Alford