NY mag has posted an essay by Chad Orzel about scientists and society. I found it very thought provoking, but somewhat discouraging. For example, he notes that he plays basketball and enjoys even though he will never make the NBA but “science is something you’re expected to give up unless you’re ‘really’ smart enough to make it your career.”
I first encountered Prof Orzel through his book How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. My then 14-year-old daughter read it and loved it. Alas, her next experience with physics (high school class) quenched the passion that was ignited by the book.