It seems Sir David Attenborough doesn’t think he has influenced people to take up science, some people have organised a letter writing to show how wrong he is, see here on how to contribute: http://dearsirdavid.wordpress.com/submission/
This is my contribution:
Dear Sir David,
I’m a scientist. I did a degree in Chemical Physics at Bristol University, a PhD in Polymer Physical Chemistry at Durham University and I became a lecturer in Biological Physics at UMIST, I still work as a scientist.
I understand you may not realise how many people you have inspired to become scientists, so I’m writing to say: you inspired me! As a child I was interested in the natural world; “Life on Earth” came along when I was nine years old. It was a grand story, it did not just cover the cute and fluffy animals, it went to Australia to look at the stromatolites. I went on to study the physical sciences formally but to me science is all one big story and you helped make that clear to me.
I eagerly awaited each new series you made, I still do, because they don’t insult my intelligence and I come away learning something new. Your recent First Life series is a fine example, I read about the Burgess Shale long ago but you visited those bleak places where the evidence of the first life on earth were found; were passionate about the un-imposing smears they left on the rock and told the story. I never knew trilobites had calcite eyes.
You can claim some matchmaking credit too: were it not for “Life on Earth”, my wife would not have attended Bristol University to do a degree and we would never have met!
You still inspire me because at an age where I might reasonably expect to be retired, you are being hoisted up trees, dropped on atolls by helicopter, and standing on mountains of bat dung.
Thank you, Sir David!
Dr Ian Hopkinson
I have to say I was welling up when I wrote this…