Most of the people I know in the U.S. that are trying to bring a love of science and technology to the masses are either scientists/engineers themselves, or do so because of their work. Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, Richard Feynman, all the MythBusters, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Dean Kamen; they all spread the message of science and technology and work in that field (or in science entertainment).
But there are exceptions. Seth MacFarlane, known for his various animation projects, is working on a new edition of Cosmos and has helped out at Science and Entertainment Exchange events.
While there were hints of this last year, you can definitely add will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas to the list. He performed with the rest of the Peas at last year’s FIRST (student robotics) competition, and does other work with the organization. He released a song from the Mars Curiosity rover. A couple of reports from late September demonstrate that will is committed to helping get young people excited about science and technology:
Appearing at the Clinton Global Initiative meetings, will spoke with passion about trying to get kids prepared for what he expects to be a very different world in the future. One part of that preparation involves more long-term thinking.
Another part could be a science and technology competition like (insert country here) Idol. The Hollywood Reporter says, based on his remarks at a technology conference that will.i.am will be working on an American Idol (or X Factor, if Simon Cowell is indeed involved) style program for young people interested in science and technology. Regrettably, work is so preliminary that his representatives won’t divulge any details aside from saying negotiations with producers were taking place.
I wish will continued success in his efforts, and I hope word of what he’s doing spreads further.