Archive for August 27th, 2009

Scientists are these mythical creatures that live somewhere between the clouds and the stratosphere. Their working habits include using lab  gowns, pocket protectors and calculators. Many of them (some would say most) are unkempt and dress poorly, except the ones that don’t. The scientists speak their own language, which is filled with long words and an adherence to strict meanings for words. When trying to communicate to the rest of the people, they describe their work in overly complicated technical terms. This inspires fear, which is exacerbated by the natural fear of the unknown. The typical stereotype of scientists is that of a mad scientist. This is apparent in movies and television dramas. Mostly, it shows scientists as being unconcerned with the day to day stuff that makes most of humanity tick. Most importantly, the attitude that is portrayed is one of arrogance. Scientists are described as condescending  `know it all’   SOB’s who can’t bother to explain their work to people that don’t understand it.

At least in recent years it seems that some kinds of science are getting more respect (forensic science for example), and one can find random clippings on the web on how that has affected the real life work of the individuals who practice it. The reality is closer to an non-scientific community.

So now we enter the theme of the day. How can we overcome the above hurdle for communicating science to the public?


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