DIETRICH, BILL. Science Reporter, The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA. - Science for People Who Don't Like Science: The Perspective of a Journalist and Novelist.
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