Dispatch from AAAS—Naming the 1000th Steve

This weekend, blog overseer Laura and I are writing from the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago

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This weekend, blog overseer Laura and I are writing from the AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Steve Darwin, a botanist at the University of Tulane, was named the 1000th Steve--the kilosteve--last night.

Project Steve, the brainchild of Eugenie Scott at the National Center for Science Education, began in 2003 as a parody of the lists of scientists doubting evolution that have often been circulated by people opposed to the teaching of evolution. Scott knew she could come up with much longer lists of scientists who supported evolution--that is, almost all of them--but she decided to concentrate on Steves (and Stephanies) in honor of famed scientist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002). About one percent of the U.S. population is named Steve or Stephanie, so Scott says that her list represents at least 100,000 scientists who support evolution, dwarfing the original lists of doubters.

"A tumbleweed that keeps growing," as Scott calls it, the list quickly numbered in the hundreds and reached 999 on February 12. Steve Darwin (no relation to Charles, though he does teach evolution) was named Steve #1000 yesterday. Honorary Steve Steve Mirsky, a writer at Scientific American, presented Darwin with a fitting tribute last night--the coveted thumbless panda (a stuffed panda wearing a t-shirt and nailed to a board).

Scott says that though Project Steve may be just "a lighthearted stunt," she encourages everyone, not just Steves, to defend the teaching of evolution.

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