Dr. Katherine (Katie) Mack has become Twitter’s latest science shero, after she responded with exquisite understatement to a climate-change denier who trolled her for being uninformed. On Monday, Mack posted about her concerns for the planet’s future: “Honestly climate change scares the heck out of me and it makes me so sad to see what we’re losing because of it.”
Honestly climate change scares the heck out of me and it makes me so sad to see what we're losing because of it.
— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) August 15, 2016
Before long, self-described “Texan conservative activist” Gary P. Jackson had responded: “Maybe you should learn some actual SCIENCE then, and stop listening to the criminals pushing the #GlobalWarming SCAM!”
To which Mack’s dry response was: “@gary4205 I dunno, man, I already went and got a PhD in astrophysics. Seems like more than that would be overkill at this point.”
Mack is an astrophysicist based at the University of Melbourne, Australia, whose work focuses on “finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales,” and includes research on dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe. She holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Princeton and studied undergraduate physics at Caltech.
Delighted Twitter users were quick to sing Mack’s praises:
I've just decided, my daughters are going to be astrophysicists. Awesome. #bestputdownever
— Kay Tee (@thornkat16) August 16, 2016
this is tweet of the Year! which emoji best describes your facial expression whilst u were typing that burn: ????????????????????????
— Scotty Fin (@FinScotty) August 16, 2016
Best utterly cool burn of an ignorant jerk EVER. Who knew that was going to be a side benefit of your PhD? Yea, you!
— Bunny (@DaemonAAc) August 16, 2016
— Nic Stark ???????????? (@nicknack1981) August 16, 2016
It even caught the attention — and earned the praise — of author J.K. Rowling:
The existence of Twitter is forever validated by the following exchange. pic.twitter.com/f3TciHPFFh
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 16, 2016
As Mack’s website states, “it’s part of my job to share my knowledge and expertise with people outside the world of science and academia. Whenever my schedule allows, I take part in outreach activities” … including schooling Twitter trolls.