Dr André Isaacs is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross in the US. You may also know him as a social media sensation having created a ton of videos on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter using song and dance to spread joy and community amongst students and viewers alike.
Earlier this year, the Black Jamaican-born chemist spoke to Nature about his work and why he doesn’t see social media as a distraction from academic work:
The usual image of a scientist is an old white guy, in a white lab coat, with no social skills. That’s an inaccurate picture. We have to break down those stereotypes. A lot of people belonging to minority sexual, racial and ethnic groups might not succeed in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) because the culture does not welcome them. In an era when science is under attack by politicians, we need people who can use social media to communicate it in an accessible way, including to people who aren’t researchers. We have to find creative ways to do that.
By being on social media and showcasing who I am — someone at the intersection of being Black, queer and an immigrant — I am showing that people with similar identities can be successful. It makes science exciting to younger people, who are running away from it in droves.