This year we have seen the deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Victoria Wood to name just three. Their lives were celebrated in headline news and several TV specials displaced the regular schedules in tribute to their talents. Then on 30th April 2016 the death of Harry Kroto was announced. But he only had a Nobel prize and so didn’t qualify for even a mention on the BBC or in the mainstream newspapers. Yes, I know, Harry Kroto wasn’t exactly a household name but he was one of the UK’s leading scientific figures. He received the Nobel Prize in 1996 for the discovery of Buckminsterfullerene and was Knighted the same year. Nevertheless, its hard to see a greater contrast between celebrity culture and science when Harry Kroto’s death passes by with such obscurity. A particular irony is that in May 2008 he wrote a piece for Guardian on the political neglect of science in the UK. His death brings the point home as the Guardian obituaries seemed to have missed the event on 30th April 2016 altogether.
An obituary did appear in the Guardian on 2nd May and the BBC caught up on the 4th May, at least on their website but no mention on the TV news. The BBC website however, reported the death of The Daily Mail's horoscope writer Jonathan Cainer on the day he died. I will say no more.