If science is to even have a fighting chance in the war against ignorance, it needs to draw upon the elemental energy of people like Alie Ward, the creator, producer, and host of the popular science podcast Ologies.

The struggle between pseudoscientific bullshit and real science hasn’t been a fair fight in quite some time. They’ve got tons of money and a deep bench replete with telegenic celebs like Jenny McCarthy and Gwyneth Paltrow. Meanwhile, we’ve got Bill Nye the Science Guy, shoe-string budgets, and a bunch of socially-awkward PhDs with coffee breath and mortgage-sized student loans.

That’s why we so desperately need people like Alie Ward—people who understand that the road to effective communication is paved with wacky analogies, off-the-wall metaphors, and deliciously cringe-worthy dad jokes—people, in short, who aren’t afraid to take risks, look silly, and be vulnerable.

Like all truly great teachers, Alie Ward understands that teaching isn’t first and foremost about the transmission of a data set; it’s about the transmission of an enthusiasm, an insatiable curiosity. If science was a pathogen, the CDC would be forced to declare Alie Ward a dangerous disease vector.

—John Faithful Hamer