Approaching Science

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Science  02 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5851, pp. 715
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151603

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Science communication is a hot topic these days. I know of two committees exploring how science journalists and scientists can find new ways of working more effectively with one another. Programs such as the Aldo Leopold Leadership fellowships are educating young scientists about how to make their work more understandable to the public and to the mainstream media. These are common-sense responses to two important changes. First, the scientific disciplines are drilling deeper into the fine details of everything from atmospheric physics to the molecular basis of cell signaling. Acronyms and other shorthand indicia are used more often than ever, and even the titles of research papers are sometimes challenging. Second, science and technology are increasingly relevant to public policy, and unless those who speak for science can be understood, the policy decisions are likely to be wrong.