One need not read too far back into the history of natural history to encounter the idea of spontaneous generation – the idea that life could be created directly out of rotting material. It was a widely held, even thoroughly tested, theory that stood the test of a far longer period of time than many of our present scientific ideas have existed.
The recent arrival of a copy of “The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication” spurred me to look further into the Oxford Handbook series as a whole. What I found was indeed quite a remarkable selection of high-level but still remarkably readable collections of scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects.
Let’s face it; in this day of both social media and an often ill-educated general public, all of us who write about any aspect of science are involved in science communication – or as it is often identified in a hashtag, #scicomm. Consequently, we have a responsibility no only to engage our readers but to inform them in a way that they will not only remember what we wrote but also not be confused by the manner in which it was written.
“Science!” The famous exclamation from Thomas Dolby’s immortal pop hit from his 1982 “She Blinded Me With Science” (also covered to noteworthy effect by William Shatner in 2011) with which I startle my family and friends each time the subject is mentioned and I’m feeling a bit jocular.