What is a Bestie you ask? Only the term coined herein in honor of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, Ph.D. brilliantly played by real-life neurobiologist and former child star Mayim Hoya Bialik on CBS's The Big Bang Theory. In the series, socially awkward Dr Fowler finds herself bursting with barely concealed excitement at being the best friend, or Bestie, of fellow cast member Kaley Cuoco, who plays a waitress blessed with loads of common sense and a great smile. Thru brilliant writing, brilliant direction and casting, brilliant acting, and by being a stickler for background scientific accuracy, a series based on the risky premise of portraying men and women of cutting edge science as lovable, delightfully flawed humans beings has become a smash hit, and in the process one of science's best friends, on network TV today. With that in mind, here's a few real-life science Besties for 2013:
- A Bestie to the National Center for Science Education for their David vs Goliath battle wherein the Center, long the defender of K-12 education in the field of evolutionary biology, has taken on the powerful fossil fuel industry. Including the many well-heeled carbon rich tentacles stretching from think-tanks to K-street.
- Honorable mention goes to the scientist-bloggers at Real Climate.
- A Bestie in space exploration to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation for taking on DoD leviathans like Boeing, Lockheed, and many other contractors happy to milk the lucrative, cost-plus taxpayer teat for badly needed spacebucks until it goes dry, even while worthy manned and unmanned programs languish.
- Honorable mention to Astronomy Picture of the Day, bringing us the best the cosmos has to offer free of charge or annoying paywalls.
- And last but certainly not least, a local Bestie goes to the Texas Freedom Network, fighting for the integrity of science ed in the deepest, darkest, Lone Star red-state on the electoral map, for taking on everyone from the Koch Brothers and Rick Perry, with a tiny staff working on a shoestring budget.