Scientists have long had one of the most admired careers

Excerpt from the July 11, 1964, issue of Science News Letter

Scientists More Admired Now Than 15 Years Ago  Men of science now rank third in the latest admiration poll for the United States. In the esteem of their countrymen, scientists are exceeded only by two other professional groups: the black-robed paragons, the Justices of the Supreme Court, and the guardians of our health, the physicians. Admiration for scientists has increased noticeably over the past 15 years, according to the recent prestige poll analysis made by the National Opinion Research Center, an affiliate of the University of Chicago. — Science News Letter, July 11, 1964


Scientists are still admired, but still not the most. A 1989 survey of occupational prestige by the National Opinion Research Center had physicians and lawyers ahead of “computer systems analyst or scientist,” with physicists and astronomers in fifth place and biologists in ninth. In a 2009 survey by Harris Interactive, 62 percent of Americans rated firefighters as having “very great prestige,” and 57 percent said the same of scientists.

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