What can a celebrity endorsement do for science?

Last month at least two celebrities were caught expressing their love for science and technology. Both James Cameron and Kevin Costner got major publicity for their first-hand involvement in trying to solve the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico --Cameron for lending his expertise in deep sea transportation and photography; Costner for sponsoring a machine that’s designed to separate oil and water. Although ultimately their contributions may not amount to much in terms of cleaning up the Gulf, it’s unusual for celebrities to be actively engaged in the development and application of scientific solutions to an environmental disaster. In interviews, both Cameron and Costner have spent years getting acquainted with scientists and engineers and what they do for a living. They’ve expressed their appreciation and admiration for their work.