Classical authors used both prose and poetry to explore and explain the natural world. In Aetna and the Moon, Liba Taub examines the variety of ways in which ancient Greeks and Romans conveyed scientific information. Oregon State University Press is proud to present this inaugural volume in the Horning Visiting Scholars Series. In ancient Greece and Rome, most of the technical literature on scientific, mathematical, technological, and medical subjects was written in prose, as it is today. However, Greek and Roman poets produced a significant number of widely read poems that dealt with scientific topics. Why would an author choose poetry to explain the natural world? This question is complicated by claims made, since antiquity, that the growth of rational explanation involved the abandonment of poetry and the rejection of myth in favor of science. Taub uses two texts to explore how scientific ideas were disseminated in the ancient world. The anonymous author of the Latin Aetna poem explained the science behind the volcano Etna with poetry. The Greek author Plutarch juxtaposed scientific and mythic explanations in his dialogue On the Face on the Moon. Both texts provide a lens through which Taub considers the nature of scientific communication in ancient Greece and Rome. General readers will appreciate Taub�s thoughtful discussion concerning the choices available to ancient authors to convey their ideas about science�as important today as it was in antiquity�while Taub�s careful research and lively writing will engage classicists as well as historians of science.
What we don’t know can hurt us—and does so every day. Climate change, health care policy, weapons of mass destruction, an aging infrastructure, stem cell research, endangered species, space exploration—all affect our lives as citizens and human beings in practical and profound ways. But unless we understand the science behind these issues, we cannot make reasonable decisions—and worse, we are susceptible to propaganda cloaked in scientific rhetoric.
To convey the facts, this book suggests, scientists must take a more active role in making their work accessible to the media, and thus to the public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a distinguished science editor and reporter, urges scientists to overcome their institutional reticence and let their voices be heard beyond the forum of scholarly publication. By offering useful hints for improving their interactions with policymakers, the public, and her fellow journalists, Dean aims to change the attitude of scientists who scorn the mass media as an arena where important work is too often misrepresented or hyped. Even more important, she seeks to convince them of the value and urgency of communicating to the public.
Am I Making Myself Clear? shows scientists how to speak to the public, handle the media, and describe their work to a lay audience on paper, online, and over the airwaves. It is a book that will improve the tone and content of debate over critical issues and will serve the interests of science and society.
Whether you are a graduate student or a senior scientist, your reputation rests on the ability to communicate your ideas and data. In this straightforward and accessible guide, Scott L. Montgomery offers detailed, practical advice on crafting every sort of scientific communication, from research papers and conference talks to review articles, interviews with the media, e-mail messages, and more. Montgomery avoids the common pitfalls of other guides by focusing not on rules and warnings but instead on how skilled writers and speakers actually learn their trade-by imitating and adapting good models of expression. Moving step-by-step through samples from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, he shows precisely how to choose and employ such models, where and how to revise different texts, how to use visuals to enhance your presentation of ideas, why writing is really a form of experimentation, and more.
He also traces the evolution of scientific expression over time, providing a context crucial for understanding the nature of technical communication today. Other chapters take up the topics of writing creatively in science; how to design and use graphics; and how to talk to the public about science. Written with humor and eloquence, this book provides a unique and realistic guide for anyone in the sciences wishing to improve his or her communication skills.
Practical and concise, The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science covers:
*Writing scientific papers, abstracts, grant proposals, technical reports, and articles for the general public
*Using graphics effectively
*Surviving and profiting from the review process
*Preparing oral presentations
*Dealing with the press and the public
*Publishing and the Internet
*Writing in English as a foreign language
For more than a decade, The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science has been the go-to reference for anyone who needs to write or speak about their research. Whether a student writing a thesis, a faculty member composing a grant proposal, or a public information officer crafting a press release, Scott Montgomery’s advice is perfectly adaptable to any scientific writer’s needs.
This new edition has been thoroughly revised to address crucial issues in the changing landscape of scientific communication, with an increased focus on those writers working in corporate settings, government, and nonprofit organizations as well as academia. Half a dozen new chapters tackle the evolving needs and paths of scientific writers. These sections address plagiarism and fraud, writing graduate theses, translating scientific material, communicating science to the public, and the increasing globalization of research.
The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science recognizes that writers come to the table with different needs and audiences. Through solid examples and concrete advice, Montgomery sets out to help scientists develop their own voice and become stronger communicators. He also teaches readers to think about their work in the larger context of communication about science, addressing the roles of media and the public in scientific attitudes as well as offering advice for those whose research concerns controversial issues such as climate change or emerging viruses.
More than ever, communicators need to be able to move seamlessly among platforms and styles. The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science’s comprehensive coverage means that scientists and researchers will be able to expertly connect with their audiences, no matter the medium.
National governments and research scientists may be equally concerned with issues of global environmental change, but their interests-and their timelines-are not the same. Governments are often focused on short-term effects and local impacts of global phenomena. Scientists, on the other hand, are loath to engage in speculation about the specific consequences of large-scale environmental trends.
How then can we translate scientific understanding of these trends into public policy?
Communicating Global Change Science to Society examines the growing number of instances in which governments and scientists have engaged in research projects in which the goal is to inform policy decisions. It assesses these experiences and suggests their implications for future collaborations.
The book begins with a discussion of interactions between science and policy, particularly as they relate to the broad significance of environmental change. It then addresses concerns that emerge from this discussion, including how scientific research results are communicated in democratic societies, the uses (and misuses) of scientific findings, and what the natural and social sciences could learn from each other.
A broader and more comprehensive understanding of how we communicate with each other about the natural world and our relationship to it is essential to solving environmental problems. How do individuals develop beliefs and ideologies about the environment? How do we express those beliefs through communication? How are we influenced by the messages of pop culture and social institutions? And how does all this communication become part of the larger social fabric of what we know as "the environment"?
Communicating Nature explores and explains the multiple levels of everyday communication that come together to form our perceptions of the natural world. Author Julia Corbett considers all levels of communication, from communication at the individual level, to environmental messages transmitted by popular culture, to communication generated by social institutions including political and regulatory agencies, business and corporations, media outlets, and educational organizations.
The book offers a fresh and engaging introductory look at a topic of broad interest, and is an important work for students of the environment, activists and environmental professionals interested in understanding the cultural context of human-nature interactions.
The ability to communicate in print and person is essential to the life of a successful scientist. But since writing is often secondary in scientific education and teaching, there remains a significant need for guides that teach scientists how best to convey their research to general and professional audiences. The Craft of Scientific Communication will teach science students and scientists alike how to improve the clarity, cogency, and communicative power of their words and images.
In this remarkable guide, Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross have combined their many years of experience in the art of science writing to analyze published examples of how the best scientists communicate. Organized topically with information on the structural elements and the style of scientific communications, each chapter draws on models of past successes and failures to show students and practitioners how best to negotiate the world of print, online publication, and oral presentation.
The Discourses of Science
Marcello Pera University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress Q175.P3826313 1994 | Dewey Decimal 500
In this much anticipated revision and translation of Scienza e Retorica, Marcello Pera argues that rhetoric is central to the making of scientific knowledge.
Pera begins with an attack of what he calls the "Cartesian syndrome"—the fixation on method common to both defenders of traditional philosophy of science and its detractors. He argues that in assuming the primacy of methodological rules, both sides get it wrong. Scientific knowledge is neither the simple mirror of nature nor a cultural construct imposed by contingent interests, thus we must replace the idea of scientific method with that of scientific rhetoric.
Pera proposes a new dialectics of science to overcome the tension between normative and descriptive philosophies of science by focusing on the rhetoric in the proposition, defense, and argumentation of theories. Examining the uses of rhetoric in debates drawn from Galileo's Dialogues, Darwin's Origins, and the Big Bang-Steady State controversy in cosmology, Pera shows how the conduct of science involves not just nature and the inquiring mind, but nature, the inquiring mind, and a questioning community which, through the process of attack, defense, and dispute, determines what is science. Rhetoric, then, is an essential element in the constitution of science as the practice of persuasive argumentation through which results gain acceptance.
When Randy Olson first described his life-changing encounter with an acting teacher in Don’t Be Such a Scientist, it seemed like the world of science was on the cusp of gaining new respect in the public eye. Through his writing, speaking, and films, Olson challenged scientists to toss out jargon in favor of a more human approach, bringing Hollywood lessons to the scientific community. Yet today, in everything from government funding cuts to climate change denial, science is under attack. And while communicating science is more crucial than ever, the scientific community still struggles to connect with everyday people.
The time is right for a new edition of Olson’s revolutionary work. In Don’t Be Such a Scientist, Second Edition, Olson renews his call for communication that stays true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. In more than 50 pages of new material, Olson brings his pioneering message to this new age, providing tools for speaking out in anti-science era and squaring off against members of the scientific establishment who resist needed change. Don’t Be Such a Scientist, Second Edition is a cutting and irreverent manual to making your voice heard in an age of attacks on science. Invaluable for anyone looking to break out of the boxes of academia or research, Olson’s writing will inspire readers to “make science human”—and to enjoy the ride along the way.
"You think too much! You mother F@$#%&* think too much! You're nothing but an arrogant, pointy-headed intellectual — I want you out of my classroom and off the premises in five minutes or I'm calling the police and having you arrested for trespassing." — Hollywood acting teacher to Randy Olson, former scientist
After nearly a decade on the defensive, the world of science is about to be restored to its rightful place. But is the American public really ready for science? And is the world of science ready for the American public?
Scientists wear ragged clothes, forget to comb their hair, and speak in a language that even they don't understand. Or so people think. Most scientists don't care how they are perceived, but in our media-dominated age, style points count.
Enter Randy Olson. Fifteen years ago, Olson bid farewell to the science world and shipped off to Hollywood ready to change the world. With films like Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (Tribeca '06, Showtime) and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest '08), he has tried to bridge the cultural divide that has too often left science on the outside looking in.
Now, in his first book, Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker. In Don't Be Such a Scientist, he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human.
In a book enlivened by a profane acting teacher who made Olson realize that "nobody wants to watch you think," he offers up serious insights and poignant stories. You'll laugh, you may cry, and as a communicator you'll certainly learn the importance of not only knowing how to fulfill, but also how to arouse.
Eloquent Science evolved from a workshop aimed at offering atmospheric science students formal guidance in communications, tailored for their eventual scientific careers. Drawing on advice from over twenty books and hundreds of other sources, this volume presents informative and often humorous tips for writing scientific journal articles, while also providing a peek behind the curtain into the operations of editorial boards and publishers of major journals. The volume focuses on writing, reviewing, and speaking and is aimed at the domain of the student or scientist at the start of her career. The volume offers tips on poster presentations, media communication, and advice for non-native speakers of English, as well as appendices on proper punctuation usage and commonly misunderstood meteorological concepts. A further reading section at the end of each chapter suggests additional sources for the interested reader, and sidebars written by experts in the field offer diverse viewpoints on reference topics.
This history of environmental journalism looks at how the practice now defines issues and sets the public agenda evolving from a tradition that includes the works of authors such as Pliny the Elder, John Muir, and Rachel Carson. It makes the case that the relationship between the media and its audience is an ongoing conversation between society and the media on what matters and what should matter.
Most scientists and researchers aren’t prepared to talk to the press or to policymakers—or to deal with backlash. Many researchers have the horror stories to prove it. What’s clear, according to Nancy Baron, is that scientists, journalists and public policymakers come from different cultures. They follow different sets of rules, pursue different goals, and speak their own language. To effectively reach journalists and public officials, scientists need to learn new skills and rules of engagement. No matter what your specialty, the keys to success are clear thinking, knowing what you want to say, understanding your audience, and using everyday language to get your main points across.
In this practical and entertaining guide to communicating science, Baron explains how to engage your audience and explain why a particular finding matters. She explores how to ace your interview, promote a paper, enter the political fray, and use new media to connect with your audience. The book includes advice from journalists, decision makers, new media experts, bloggers and some of the thousands of scientists who have participated in her communication workshops. Many of the researchers she has worked with have gone on to become well-known spokespeople for science-related issues. Baron and her protégées describe the risks and rewards of “speaking up,” how to deal with criticism, and the link between communications and leadership. The final chapter, ‘Leading the Way’ offers guidance to scientists who want to become agents of change and make your science matter. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran looking to hone your skills, Escape From the Ivory Tower can help make your science understood, appreciated and perhaps acted upon.
From climate to vaccination, stem-cell research to evolution, scientific work is often the subject of public controversies in which scientists and science communicators find themselves enmeshed. Especially with such hot-button topics, science communication plays vital roles. Gathering together the work of a multidisciplinary, international collection of scholars, the editors of Ethics and Practice in Science Communication present an enlightening dialogue involving these communities, one that articulates the often differing objectives and ethical responsibilities communicators face in bringing a range of scientific knowledge to the wider world.
In three sections—how ethics matters, professional practice, and case studies—contributors to this volume explore the many complex questions surrounding the communication of scientific results to nonscientists. Has the science been shared clearly and accurately? Have questions of risk, uncertainty, and appropriate representation been adequately addressed? And, most fundamentally, what is the purpose of communicating science to the public: Is it to inform and empower? Or to persuade—to influence behavior and policy? By inspiring scientists and science communicators alike to think more deeply about their work, this book reaffirms that the integrity of the communication of science is vital to a healthy relationship between science and society today.
This edited collection disrupts tendencies in feminist science studies to dismiss rhetoric as having concern only for language, and it counters posthumanist theories that ignore human materialities and asymmetries of power as co-constituted with and through distinctions such as gender, sex, race, and ability. The eight essays of Feminist Rhetorical Science Studies: Human Bodies, Posthumanist Worlds model methodologies for doing feminist research in the rhetoric of science. Collectively they build innovative interdisciplinary bridges across the related but divergent fields of feminism, posthumanism, new materialism, and the rhetoric of science.
Each essay addresses a question: How can feminist rhetoricians of science engage responsibly with emerging theories of the posthuman? Some contributors respond with case studies in medical practice (fetal ultrasound; patient noncompliance), medical science (the neuroscience of sex differences), and health policy (drug trials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration); others respond with a critical review of object-oriented ontology and a framework for researching women technical writers in the workplace. The contributed essays are in turn framed by a comprehensive introduction and a final chapter from the editors, who argue that a key contribution of feminist posthumanist rhetoric is that it rethinks the agencies of people, things, and practices in ways that can bring about more ethical human relations.
Individually the contributions offer as much variety as consensus on matters of methodology. Together they demonstrate how feminist posthumanist and materialist approaches to science expand our notions of what rhetoric is and does, yet they manage to do so without sacrificing what makes their inquiries distinctively rhetorical.
Whether sharing a spectacular shot from a deep-space probe, announcing a development in genetic engineering, or crafting an easy-to-reference list of cancer risk factors, science public information officers, or PIOs, serve as scientific liaisons, connecting academic, nonprofit, government, and other research organizations with the public. And as traditional media outlets cut back on their science coverage, PIOs are becoming a vital source for science news.
W. Matthew Shipman’s Handbook for Science Public Information Officers covers all aspects of communication strategy and tactics for members of this growing specialty. It includes how to pitch a story, how to train researchers to navigate interviews, how to use social media effectively, and how to respond to a crisis. The handbook offers a wealth of practical advice while teaching science PIOs how to think critically about what they do and how they do it, so that they will be prepared to take advantage of any situation, rather than being overwhelmed by it.
For all science communicators—whether they’re starting their careers, crossing over from journalism or the research community, or professional communicators looking to hone their PIO skills—Shipman’s Handbook for Science Public Information Officers will become their go-to reference.
These days, the idea of the cyborg is less the stuff of science fiction and more a reality, as we are all, in one way or another, constantly connected, extended, wired, and dispersed in and through technology. One wonders where the individual, the person, the human, and the body are—or, alternatively, where they stop. These are the kinds of questions Hélène Mialet explores in this fascinating volume, as she focuses on a man who is permanently attached to assemblages of machines, devices, and collectivities of people: Stephen Hawking.
Drawing on an extensive and in-depth series of interviews with Hawking, his assistants and colleagues, physicists, engineers, writers, journalists, archivists, and artists, Mialet reconstructs the human, material, and machine-based networks that enable Hawking to live and work. She reveals how Hawking—who is often portrayed as the most singular, individual, rational, and bodiless of all—is in fact not only incorporated, materialized, and distributed in a complex nexus of machines and human beings like everyone else, but even more so. Each chapter focuses on a description of the functioning and coordination of different elements or media that create his presence, agency, identity, and competencies. Attentive to Hawking’s daily activities, including his lecturing and scientific writing, Mialet’s ethnographic analysis powerfully reassesses the notion of scientific genius and its associations with human singularity. This book will fascinate anyone interested in Stephen Hawking or an extraordinary life in science.
Ask a scientist about Hollywood, and you’ll probably get eye rolls. But ask someone in Hollywood about science, and they’ll see dollar signs: moviemakers know that science can be the source of great stories, with all the drama and action that blockbusters require.
That’s a huge mistake, says Randy Olson: Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story—and, ultimately, how to do science better. With Houston, We Have a Narrative, he lays out a stunningly simple method for turning the dull into the dramatic. Drawing on his unique background, which saw him leave his job as a working scientist to launch a career as a filmmaker, Olson first diagnoses the problem: When scientists tell us about their work, they pile one moment and one detail atop another moment and another detail—a stultifying procession of “and, and, and.” What we need instead is an understanding of the basic elements of story, the narrative structures that our brains are all but hardwired to look for—which Olson boils down, brilliantly, to “And, But, Therefore,” or ABT. At a stroke, the ABT approach introduces momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”)—the fundamental building blocks of story. As Olson has shown by leading countless workshops worldwide, when scientists’ eyes are opened to ABT, the effect is staggering: suddenly, they’re not just talking about their work—they’re telling stories about it. And audiences are captivated.
Written with an uncommon verve and enthusiasm, and built on principles that are applicable to fields far beyond science, Houston, We Have a Narrative has the power to transform the way science is understood and appreciated, and ultimately how it’s done.
Calls for closer connections among disciplines can be heard throughout the world of scholarly research, from major universities to the National Institutes of Health. In Defense of Disciplines presents a fresh and daring analysis of the argument surrounding interdisciplinarity. Challenging the belief that blurring the boundaries between traditional academic fields promotes more integrated research and effective teaching, Jerry Jacobs contends that the promise of interdisciplinarity is illusory and that critiques of established disciplines are often overstated and misplaced.
Drawing on diverse sources of data, Jacobs offers a new theory of liberal arts disciplines such as biology, economics, and history that identifies the organizational sources of their dynamism and breadth. Illustrating his thesis with a wide range of case studies including the diffusion of ideas between fields, the creation of interdisciplinary scholarly journals, and the rise of new fields that spin off from existing ones, Jacobs turns many of the criticisms of disciplines on their heads to mount a powerful defense of the enduring value of liberal arts disciplines. This will become one of the anchors of the case against interdisciplinarity for years to come.
Confronting us at every turn, flowing from every imaginable source, information defines our era--and yet what we don't know about it could--and does--fill a book. In this indispensable volume, a primer for the information age, Hans Christian von Baeyer presents a clear description of what information is, how concepts of its measurement, meaning, and transmission evolved, and what its ever-expanding presence portends for the future.
Information is poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of the universe, von Baeyer suggests; it will provide a new basic framework for describing and predicting reality in the twenty-first century. Despite its revolutionary premise, von Baeyer's book is written simply in a straightforward fashion, offering a wonderfully accessible introduction to classical and quantum information. Enlivened with anecdotes from the lives of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists who have contributed significantly to the field, Information conducts readers from questions of subjectivity inherent in classical information to the blurring of distinctions between computers and what they measure or store in our quantum age. A great advance in our efforts to define and describe the nature of information, the book also marks an important step forward in our ability to exploit information--and, ultimately, to transform the nature of our relationship with the physical universe.
Reviews of this book: In Information, physicist Hans Christian von Baeyer sets out to explain why...information is the irreducible seed from which every particle, every force and even the fabric of space-time grows. This is deep stuff, but von Baeyer romps through a huge range of subjects, including thermodynamics, statistics, information theory and quantum mechanics with ease....You will never think of information the same way again. --New Scientist [UK]
Reviews of this book: Von Baeyer has provided an accessible and engaging overview of the emerging role of information as a fundamental building block in science. --Michael Nielsen, Nature
Reviews of this book: Delving into the history of science from ancient Greek theories of the atom to the frontiers of astrophysics, [Von Baeyer] shows how the concept of information illuminates a huge variety of phenomena, from black holes to the gamesmanship strategies of Let's Make a Deal...Von Baeyer manages to steer clear of equations without resorting to the hand-waving metaphors that too many science popularizers lapse into when trying to convey difficult ideas. The result is a stylish introduction to one of the most fascinating themes of modern science. --Publishers Weekly
Hans Christian von Bayer is well known for explaining the complexities of science to the rest of us, and in this book he lives up to his reputation by taking on one of the most difficult concepts around--information. Starting with his characterization of information as a gentle rain that falls on all of our lives, he leads us through a universe in which information is woven like threads in a cloth. Masterful! --James Trefil, Clarence J Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University and co-author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
In the second millennium CE, long before English became the language of science, the act of translation was crucial for understanding and disseminating knowledge and information across linguistic and geographic boundaries. This volume considers the complexities of knowledge exchange through the practice of translation over the course of a millennium, across fields of knowledge—cartography, health and medicine, material construction, astronomy—and a wide geographical range, from Eurasia to Africa and the Americas. Contributors literate in Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Minnan, Ottoman, and Persian explore the history of science in the context of world and global history, investigating global patterns and implications in a multilingual and increasingly interconnected world. Chapters reveal cosmopolitan networks of shared practice and knowledge about the natural world from 1000 to 1800 CE, emphasizing both evolving scientific exchange and the emergence of innovative science. By unraveling the role of translation in cross-cultural communication, Knowledge in Translation highlights key moments of transmission, insight, and critical interpretation across linguistic and faith communities.
Prior to 1735, South America was terra incognita to many Europeans. But that year, the Paris Academy of Sciences sent a mission to the Spanish American province of Quito (in present-day Ecuador) to study the curvature of the earth at the Equator. Equipped with quadrants and telescopes, the mission’s participants referred to the transfer of scientific knowledge from Europe to the Andes as a “sacred fire” passing mysteriously through European astronomical instruments to observers in South America.
By taking an innovative interdisciplinary look at the traces of this expedition, Measuring the New World examines the transatlantic flow of knowledge from West to East. Through ephemeral monuments and geographical maps, this book explores how the social and cultural worlds of South America contributed to the production of European scientific knowledge during the Enlightenment. Neil Safier uses the notebooks of traveling philosophers, as well as specimens from the expedition, to place this particular scientific endeavor in the larger context of early modern print culture and the emerging intellectual category of scientist as author.
“The frontier of science” is a metaphor that has become ubiquitous in American rhetoric, from its first appearance in the public address of early twentieth-century American intellectuals and politicians who aligned a mythic national identity with scientific research, to its more recent use in scientists’ arguments in favor of increased research funding. Here, Leah Ceccarelli explores what is selected and what is deflected when this metaphor is deployed, its effects on those who use it, and what rhetorical moves are made by those who try to counter its appeal. In her research, Ceccarelli discovers that “the frontier of science” evokes a scientist who is typically male, a risk taker, an adventurous loner—someone separated from a public that both envies and distrusts him, with a manifest destiny to penetrate the unknown. It conjures a competitive desire to claim the riches of a new territory before others can do the same. Closely reading the public address of scientists and politicians and the reception of their audiences, this book shows how the frontier of science metaphor constrains American speakers, helping to guide the ends of scientific research in particular ways and sometimes blocking scientists from attaining the very goals they set out to achieve.
Uncloistered by the web, science is finding its way into previously unimagined audiences. Whether collecting data in one’s backyard to help wildlife experts manage wolf populations or even funding research out of one’s own pocket, nonexperts can engage science at an unprecedented scale. As science communication has moved online, a range of important new genres have emerged that put professionals and the public into conversation with each other. In Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet, Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher takes up these “trans-scientific” genres to explore how scientists are adapting their communications, how publics are increasingly involved in science, and how boundaries between experts and nonexperts continue to shift.
Bringing together genre studies and the rhetoric of science, Mehlenbacher examines a range of new forms of science communication that challenge traditional presumptions about experts and nonexperts—including Twitter and Reddit AMAs, crowdfunding proposals such as Kickstarter and Experiment.com, civic-minded databases such as Safecast, and the PLOS blogging network. Science Communication Online illustrates the unique features of these genres and connects them to their rhetorical functions and the larger context leading to their emergence and evolution—from the democratization of science, challenges to expertise and expert status, and new political economies. Science Communication Online captures the important moment we find ourselves in now—one not defined by science and society but science in society.
Recent scholarship has revealed that pioneering Victorian scientists endeavored through voluminous writing to raise public interest in science and its implications. But it has generally been assumed that once science became a profession around the turn of the century, this new generation of scientists turned its collective back on public outreach. Science for All debunks this apocryphal notion.
Peter J. Bowler surveys the books, serial works, magazines, and newspapers published between 1900 and the outbreak of World War II to show that practicing scientists were very active in writing about their work for a general readership. Science for All argues that the social environment of early twentieth-century Britain created a substantial market for science books and magazines aimed at those who had benefited from better secondary education but could not access higher learning. Scientists found it easy and profitable to write for this audience, Bowler reveals, and because their work was seen as educational, they faced no hostility from their peers. But when admission to colleges and universities became more accessible in the 1960s, this market diminished and professional scientists began to lose interest in writing at the nonspecialist level.
Eagerly anticipated by scholars of scientific engagement throughout the ages, Science for All sheds light on our own era and the continuing tension between science and public understanding.
John Dalton’s molecular structures. Scatter plots and geometric diagrams. Watson and Crick’s double helix. The way in which scientists understand the world—and the key concepts that explain it—is undeniably bound up in not only words, but images. Moreover, from PowerPoint presentations to articles in academic journals, scientific communication routinely relies on the relationship between words and pictures. In Science from Sight to Insight, Alan G. Gross and Joseph E. Harmon present a short history of the scientific visual, and then formulate a theory about the interaction between the visual and textual. With great insight and admirable rigor, the authors argue that scientific meaning itself comes from the complex interplay between the verbal and the visual in the form of graphs, diagrams, maps, drawings, and photographs. The authors use a variety of tools to probe the nature of scientific images, from Heidegger’s philosophy of science to Peirce’s semiotics of visual communication. Their synthesis of these elements offers readers an examination of scientific visuals at a much deeper and more meaningful level than ever before.
Ever since the threads of seventeenth-century natural philosophy began to coalesce into an understanding of the natural world, printed artifacts such as laboratory notebooks, research journals, college textbooks, and popular paperbacks have been instrumental to the development of what we think of today as “science.” But just as the history of science involves more than recording discoveries, so too does the study of print culture extend beyond the mere cataloguing of books. In both disciplines, researchers attempt to comprehend how social structures of power, reputation, and meaning permeate both the written record and the intellectual scaffolding through which scientific debate takes place. Science in Print brings together scholars from the fields of print culture, environmental history, science and technology studies, medical history, and library and information studies. This ambitious volume paints a rich picture of those tools and techniques of printing, publishing, and reading that shaped the ideas and practices that grew into modern science, from the days of the Royal Society of London in the late 1600s to the beginning of the modern U.S. environmental movement in the early 1960s.
Mr. Wizard’s World. Bill Nye the Science Guy. NPR’s Science Friday. These popular television and radio programs broadcast science into the homes of millions of viewers and listeners. But these modern series owe much of their success to the pioneering efforts of early-twentieth-century science shows like Adventures in Science and “Our Friend the Atom.” Science on the Air is the fascinating history of the evolution of popular science in the first decades of the broadcasting era.
Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette transports readers to the early days of radio, when the new medium allowed innovative and optimistic scientists the opportunity to broadcast serious and dignified presentations over the airwaves. But the exponential growth of listenership in the 1920s, from thousands to millions, and the networks’ recognition that each listener represented a potential consumer, turned science on the radio into an opportunity to entertain, not just educate.
Science on the Air chronicles the efforts of science popularizers, from 1923 until the mid-1950s, as they negotiated topic, content, and tone in order to gain precious time on the air. Offering a new perspective on the collision between science’s idealistic and elitist view of public communication and the unbending economics of broadcasting, LaFollette rewrites the history of the public reception of science in the twentieth century and the role that scientists and their institutions have played in both encouraging and inhibiting popularization. By looking at the broadcasting of the past, Science on the Air raises issues of concern to all those who seek to cultivate a scientifically literate society today.
In his long career, Robert Fox has specialized in the history of the physical sciences, particularly in France since 1700. In Science without Frontiers, he explores the discipline of science as a model for global society.
Fostered by international congresses and societies, scientific collaboration flourished across linguistic and national borders from the mid-nineteenth century up until, and even after, the First World War. Projects such as the universal language Esperanto and the Dewey decimal system relied on optimistic visions of the future and were fueled by dramatic improvements in communications and transportation. The Institut international de bibliographie, founded in Brussels in 1895, emerged as a center for this collaborative endeavor.
After the First World War, scientific internationalism met with new challenges as governments increasingly sought to control the uses of science and technology. Fox details the fate of cooperative scientific internationalism in Europe and the challenges posed to it by the rise of totalitarianism and the increasingly conflicting force of nationalism. He explores public expressions of scientific nationalism in museum exhibits and, most tellingly, in rival national pavilions at the Paris International Exposition of 1937.
World War II might have shattered internationalist ideals for good, but grounds for optimism remain in the successes of international organizations like UNESCO and in the potential of electronic media as a way to achieve a vision of universal access to knowledge. Science without Frontiers offers a new way to think about science and culture and its relationship to politics amid the crises of the twentieth century.
English is the language of science today. No matter which languages you know, if you want your work seen, studied, and cited, you need to publish in English. But that hasn’t always been the case. Though there was a time when Latin dominated the field, for centuries science has been a polyglot enterprise, conducted in a number of languages whose importance waxed and waned over time—until the rise of English in the twentieth century.
So how did we get from there to here? How did French, German, Latin, Russian, and even Esperanto give way to English? And what can we reconstruct of the experience of doing science in the polyglot past? With Scientific Babel, Michael D. Gordin resurrects that lost world, in part through an ingenious mechanism: the pages of his highly readable narrative account teem with footnotes—not offering background information, but presenting quoted material in its original language. The result is stunning: as we read about the rise and fall of languages, driven by politics, war, economics, and institutions, we actually see it happen in the ever-changing web of multilingual examples. The history of science, and of English as its dominant language, comes to life, and brings with it a new understanding not only of the frictions generated by a scientific community that spoke in many often mutually unintelligible voices, but also of the possibilities of the polyglot, and the losses that the dominance of English entails.
Few historians of science write as well as Gordin, and Scientific Babel reveals his incredible command of the literature, language, and intellectual essence of science past and present. No reader who takes this linguistic journey with him will be disappointed.
Not since the printing press has a media object been as celebrated for its role in the advancement of knowledge as the scientific journal. From open communication to peer review, the scientific journal has long been central both to the identity of academic scientists and to the public legitimacy of scientific knowledge. But that was not always the case. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, academies and societies dominated elite study of the natural world. Journals were a relatively marginal feature of this world, and sometimes even an object of outright suspicion.
The Scientific Journal tells the story of how that changed. Alex Csiszar takes readers deep into nineteenth-century London and Paris, where savants struggled to reshape scientific life in the light of rapidly changing political mores and the growing importance of the press in public life. The scientific journal did not arise as a natural solution to the problem of communicating scientific discoveries. Rather, as Csiszar shows, its dominance was a hard-won compromise born of political exigencies, shifting epistemic values, intellectual property debates, and the demands of commerce. Many of the tensions and problems that plague scholarly publishing today are rooted in these tangled beginnings. As we seek to make sense of our own moment of intense experimentation in publishing platforms, peer review, and information curation, Csiszar argues powerfully that a better understanding of the journal’s past will be crucial to imagining future forms for the expression and organization of knowledge.
The scientific article has been a hallmark of the career of every important western scientist since the seventeenth century. Yet its role in the history of science has not been fully explored. Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross remedy this oversight with The Scientific Literature, a collection of writings—excerpts from scientific articles, letters, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, and magazines—that illustrates the origin of the scientific article in 1665 and its evolution over the next three and a half centuries.
Featuring articles—as well as sixty tables and illustrations, tools vital to scientific communication—that represent the broad sweep of modern science, The Scientific Literature is a historical tour through both the rhetorical strategies that scientists employ to share their discoveries and the methods that scientists use to argue claims of new knowledge. Commentaries that explain each excerpt’s scientific and historical context and analyze its communication strategy accompany each entry.
A unique anthology, The Scientific Literature will allow both the scholar and the general reader to experience first hand the development of modern science.
Research in most scientific disciplines calls for painstaking accuracy and a hesitation to generalize for fear of distorting the truth. Given this penchant for nuance, scientists often feel uneasy about a relationship with anyone in the media who is seeking an eye-catching lead, usually with limited space to express subtleties. Researchers who give interviews often feel that their findings are distorted or sensationalized, and shun future media contact. By avoiding potential misrepresentations, however, scientists also sacrifice opportunities to educate the public on important issues related to health, the environment, outer space, and much more.
In A Scientist's Guide to Talking with the Media, Richard Hayes and Daniel Grossman draw on their expertise in public relations and journalism to empower researchers in a variety of fields to spread their message on their own terms. The authors provide tips on how to translate abstract concepts into concrete metaphors, craft soundbites, and prepare for interviews. For those looking for a higher profile, the authors explain how to become a reporter's trusted source-the first card in the Rolodex-on controversial issues.
A must-read for all scientists, this book shows how it is possible for the discoveries that hibernate in lecture halls and academic journals to reach a broader audience in a way that is accurate and effective.
Starring the Text: The Place of Rhetoric in Science Studies firmly establishes the rhetorical analysis of science as a respected field of study. Alan G. Gross, one of rhetoric’s foremost authorities, summarizes the state of the field and demonstrates the role of rhetorical analysis in the sciences. He documents the limits of such analyses with examples from biology and physics, explores their range of application, and sheds light on the tangled relationships between science and society. In this deep revision of his important Rhetoric of Science, Gross examines how rhetorical analyses have a wide range of application, effectively exploring the generation, spread, certification, and closure that characterize scientific knowledge. Gross anchors his position in philosophical rather than in rhetorical arguments and maintains there is rhetorical criticism from which the sciences cannot be excluded.
Gross employs a variety of case studies and examples to assess the limits of the rhetorical analysis of science. For example, in examining avian taxonomy, he demonstrates that both taxonomical and evolutionary species are the product of rhetorical interactions. A review of Newton’s two formulations of optical research illustrates that their only significant difference is rhetorical, a difference in patterns of style, arrangement, and argument. Gross also explores the range of rhetorical analysis in his consideration of the “evolution of evolution” of Darwin’s notebooks. In his analysis of science and society, he explains the limits of citizen action in executive, judicial, and legislative democratic realms in the struggle to prevent, ameliorate, and provide adequate compensation for occupational disease. By using philosophical, historical, and psychological perspectives, Gross concludes, rhetorical analysis can also supplement other viewpoints in resolving intellectual problems.
Starring the Text, which includes fourteen illustrations, is an updated, readable study geared to rhetoricians, historians, philosophers, and sociologists interested in science. The volume effectively demonstrates that the rhetoric of science is a natural extension of rhetorical theory and criticism.
In 2009, Rolling Stone named Joe Romm to its list of "100 People Who Are Changing America." Romm is a climate expert, physicist, energy consultant, and former official in the Department of Energy. But it’s his influential blog, one of the "Top Fifteen Green Websites" according to Time magazine, that’s caught national attention. Climate change is far more urgent than people understand, Romm says, and traditional media, scientists, and politicians are missing the story.
Straight Up draws on Romm’s most important posts to explain the dangers of and solutions to climate change that you won’t find in newspapers, in journals, or on T.V. Compared to coverage of Jay-Z or the latest philandering politician, climate change makes up a pathetically small share of news reports. And when journalists do try to tackle this complex issue, they often lack the background to tell the full story. Despite the dearth of reporting, polls show that two in five Americans think the press is actually exaggerating the threat of climate change. That gives Big Oil, and others with a vested interest in the status quo, a huge opportunity to mislead the public.
Romm cuts through the misinformation and presents the truth about humanity’s most dire threat. His analysis is based on sophisticated knowledge of renewable technologies, climate impacts, and government policy, written in a style everyone can understand. Romm shows how a 20 percent reduction in global emissions over the next quarter century could improve the economy; how we can replace most coal and with what technologies; why Sarah Palin wears a polar bear pin; and why controversial, emerging technologies like biochar have to be part of the solution.
The ultimate solution, Romm argues, is bigger than any individual technology: it’s citizen action. Without public pressure, Washington and industry don’t budge. With it, our grandkids might just have a habitable place to live.
“The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger” and “Hero of the Environment 2009”
“I trust Joe Romm on climate.”
—Paul Krugman, New York Times
“America’s fiercest climate-change activist-blogger” and one of “The 100 People Who Are Changing America”
— Rolling Stone
“One of the most influential energy and environmental policy makers in the Obama era”
— U.S. News & World Report
“The indispensable blog”
—Thomas Friedman, New York Times
“One of the most influential energy and environmental policy makers in the Obama era”
— U.S. News & World Report
“The indispensable blog”
—Thomas Friedman, New York Times
While many disciplines contribute to environmental conservation, there is little successful integration of science and social values. Arguing that the central problem in conservation is a lack of effective communication, Bryan Norton shows in Sustainability how current linguistic resources discourage any shared, multidisciplinary public deliberation over environmental goals and policy. In response, Norton develops a new, interdisciplinary approach to defining sustainability—the cornerstone of environmental policy—using philosophical and linguistic analyses to create a nonideological vocabulary that can accommodate scientific and evaluative environmental discourse.
Emphasizing cooperation and adaptation through social learning, Norton provides a practical framework that encourages an experimental approach to language clarification and problem formulation, as well as an interdisciplinary approach to creating solutions. By moving beyond the scientific arena to acknowledge the importance of public discourse, Sustainability offers an entirely novel approach to environmentalism.
Scientific writing is often dry, wordy, and difficult to understand. But, as Anne E. Greene shows in Writing Science in Plain English,writers from all scientific disciplines can learn to produce clear, concise prose by mastering just a few simple principles.
This short, focused guide presents a dozen such principles based on what readers need in order to understand complex information, including concrete subjects, strong verbs, consistent terms, and organized paragraphs. The author, a biologist and an experienced teacher of scientific writing, illustrates each principle with real-life examples of both good and bad writing and shows how to revise bad writing to make it clearer and more concise. She ends each chapter with practice exercises so that readers can come away with new writing skills after just one sitting.
Writing Science in Plain English can help writers at all levels of their academic and professional careers—undergraduate students working on research reports, established scientists writing articles and grant proposals, or agency employees working to follow the Plain Writing Act. This essential resource is the perfect companion for all who seek to write science effectively.