Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the early heroes of the environmental movement and creator of the Ames Test, which showed how to use in vitro testing to determine if chemicals could cause DNA damage and thus cancer (sparing a lot of animals), went on to rank all kinds of chemicals in order of risk.
Thus, he was an early voice of sanity in the post-DDT world, where activists tried to convince people there is such a thing as chemical-free. His testing led to evidence-based decision-making about risks and the environment and The Scientist did a recent article on him.
He is an old school scientist, he came up before there was a political litmus test to get to the top tiers of academia. So he isn't a shill for environmentalists or industry groups or anyone else, he goes where the science takes him. Thus, he has made enemies everywhere, which is exactly where he should be.
Writing in The Scientist, Megan Scudellari does a nice article about his work then and now. But what caught my attention was a link to it from the American Council on Science and Health and their title: A well-deserved, overdue encomium for Dr. Bruce Ames. Encomium is simply Latin for praise and in the wrong hands it comes across as pretentious (we mean you, Led Zeppelin) or flowery. Used properly, it is egalitarian and exculpatory - see, I just used flowery words unnecessarily and it comes across as dopey.
Kudos to you for your linguistic artistry, ACSH!
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