No way are scientists heroes in the UK. At the best, when I tell someone what I do I get a raised eyebrow, maybe a sort of mock-alarmed 'aren't you clever' look. If you read the most recent piece
on LabLit, coincidentally, you'll see a reinforcement of what I've always thought about Britain: people don't like a smartarse. Intelligence is not highly prized, if anything it's something to sneer at. So since intelligence is pretty much a given trait for scientists, I don't see how culturally it would be possible for us to be well respected or revered.
I don't know an ass neuron from an elbow neuron.