The greatest era of scientific discovery in history is being witnessed by a population that by some measurements is largely scientifically illiterate. With science and technology driving philosophy and commerce, the scientific community needs to find ways to sustain a dialogue with the public when popular culture often portrays scientists as vain and hubristic villains and science itself as frighteningly complex. Simplified language, common sense questions, the humanization of research, gee-whiz facts, humor, hands-on education and a head-on acknowledgement of moral and ethical issues can all help ordinary people become engaged with science. If scientists want robust public support of science, they need to understand where laymen are coming from and meet them at least halfway. Suggested strategies will be offered.

Key words: science news, scientific outreach