Science will save us. It’s a nice sentiment, but in the midst of the pandemic, it’s a cold hard fact. Medical researchers, epidemiologists, virologists, doctors — these are the heroes of 2020. The men on this list are nothing short of that. Does saving lives make one cool? You’re damn right it does.
Cool Dad Job: Physician
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Saving our asses.
It’s hard to be cool when you’re a 79-year-old white guy standing behind a podium in the Trump White House. But to be in that place, surrounded by cynics and opportunists, and to champion truth, facts, and reason — that makes you Brad Fucking Pitt (who will, naturally, play you on Saturday Night Live). Fauci is more rough-and-tumble than he comes across in public. When dealing with politicians, he relies on the mock-Latin expression Illegitimi non carborundum: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Against all odds, he hasn’t. Fauci isn’t the hero we wanted, but he’s the hero we needed, a medical professional of consummate integrity and seemingly boundless patience. A realist who worked tirelessly to lower the death toll during the AIDS crisis and remained productive within a defunded and politicized CDC, Fauci is America’s family physician.
How does he feel about his wife and three daughters? Let’s turn to the literature for that. According to a report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, they give Fauci “more satisfaction than anything in life.” As he stands next to Trump, course-correcting us away from hydroxychloroquine, it’s fairly obvious that Fauci would like to just go home. He hasn’t. We owe him a debt of tremendous gratitude for that.
Cool Dad Job: Engineer, National Geographic Explorer
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Dunking on Indiana Jones
In 2016, Dr. Albert Yu Min Lin, engineer, National Geographic Explorer, host of Lost Cities, and extremely handsome dude, crushed his leg in an off-road accident. The leg had to be amputated and Lin struggled with the crippling phantom limb pain. Lin leaned on his UC San Diego network and found a doctor who ready to go off-road with his treatment. With the help of a little psilocybin and a lot of meditation, Lin “found that barriers are all in your mind” then promptly got back to work. Lin has used LIDAR to search for Ghengis Khan’s hidden tomb and developed a first-of-its-kind satellite crowdsourcing analytics tool (the Pentagon got very interested). He’s a brilliant and intense dude who keeps his priorities straight. “Being a father is my number one purpose in life,” he explains. The other mindblowing exploits? Those are just accomplishments.
Dr. Siddartha Mukherjee
Cool Dad Job: Author. Physician. Researcher.
Latests Cool Dad Achievement: Publishing The Gene: An Intimate History. Covering the Covid-19 crisis with level-headed intelligence.
His friends call him Sid, but he’s not exactly the most relatable fellow on the block. Dr. Mukherjee is a renowned medical researched, author and New Yorker mainstay married to the iconic modern artist Sarah Sze. Dr. Mukherjee has become an astonishing powerful voice for science and medicine in an age of misinformation and intellectual sloth. In 2019, he released The Gene: An Intimate History, offering a glimpse into how we become who we become and puzzling over what our parents pass down through their genetic code. At the same time, he continued to work on metabolic cancer therapies.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Mukherjee has been advocating for healthcare providers and making the case that American medicine is not simply a collection of pills, but a culture — one that needs to be reformed and celebrated. He’s right.
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