Most of the most influential scientists in the world dont have public Facebook profiles, using them as if they were just regular people (I assume, since I can’t see them). The scientists with public profiles walk a funny line of self-promotion, research updating, all while trying to still be regular people. Of these scientists with public profiles, a number have thousands of followers, but very few have hundreds of thousands of followers. In order to simplify this list, and to make it a little more scientific, I focused on the scientists who have at least a hundred thousand of profile likes.
While some of these scientists rely on a media team to craft their public persona, others do the work themselves. But even in profiles crafted by a media team, the scientist who appears on social media is a fascinating individual, and liking their page gives you insight into their work and their personality.
Profile likes: 252, 317
Credentials: theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University
Krauss’ Facebook is mostly about his work — his books and interviews with the media. What makes him unique is that he often responds to comments from fans! He also is very vocal about his political leanings on his profile, so following him is one way to get to know who he is as a person, and not just a scientist.
Profile likes: 603, 969
Credentials: evolutionary biologist and Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford
Dawkins is an odd presence on Facebook. His profile is run by his publisher, and although his foundation has a page with 1,527,504 likes, this brought his power ranking down. Despite the fact that he isn’t personally running his Facebook, it does accurately represent the Dawkins image — he even quoted a song he was mentioned in recently. The page posts interviews with Dawkins, stories about science from his foundation page, and information about his books.
5) Jane Goodall
Profile likes: 960,044
Credentials: primatologist and ethologist who founded the Jane Goodall Foundation for the study of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania
Jane Goodall shares some incredible stories about chimpanzees. Her Facebook is a mix of peace activism, old family photos, and news from the Jane Goodall Institute. If you are at all interested in what scientists are learning about chimpanzees and want to know more about Goodall as a person, her Facebook is definitely worth a like.
4) Noam Chomsky
Profile likes: 1,137,877
Credentials: Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at MIT
He is 87 years old, one of the most influential linguists (and people) of all time, and his Facebook is probably the greatest use of the Noam Chomsky brand ™ you have ever seen. If it’s about Noam Chomsky, he’s posted it. His Facebook is delightful and practically guaranteed to make you think more about what it means to be human.
3) Michio Kako
Profile likes: 2,949,303
Credentials: theoretical physicist at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center
Kako does a lot of really interesting interviews ranging from the existence of alien life to human cryonics that he posts on his Facebook. He and Noam Chomsky debunked the fake moon landing conspiracy back in January, so liking his page is a pretty fun ride.
Profile likes: 3,430,148
Credentials: astrophyisicst and Director of the Hayden Planetarium
No matter what you think about Neil deGrasse Tyson, he is undeniably popular. His Facebook is primarly run by his media team, but Tyson makes some more personal posts himself — like his list of 33 Cosmic Car Names. Like to hear about his talks and catch a glimpse of Tyson goofing around.
Profile likes: 3,527,143
Credentials: theoretical astrophysicist and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge
Hawking is the top dog of scientists on Facebook. His media team mostly runs his page, but Hawking jumps in when he feels like he has something to say, most recently about his reaction to Brexit. His page features posts on the leading edge of theoretical physics and motor neuron disease, and occasionally video messages direct from Hawking himself.