Taking Science to the People


Taking Science to the People

A Communication Primer for Scientists and Engineers

Edited by Carolyn Johnsen

120 pages
3 illustrations, 1 table


November 2010


$14.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2010


$15.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The American public, government, and the news media continually grapple with myriad policy issues related to science and technology. Those issues include global warming, energy, stem-cell research, health care, childhood autism, food safety, and genetics, to name but a few. When the public is informed on such topics, chances improve for reasoned policy decisions. Journalists have typically bridged the gap between scientists and the public, but the times now call for more engagement from the experts. The authors in this collection write convincingly about why scientists and engineers should shake off their ivory-tower reticence and take science to the people.
Taking Science to the People calls on scientists and engineers to polish their writing and speaking skills in order to communicate more clearly about their work to the public, policy makers, and reporters who cover science. The authors represent a range of experience and authority, including distinguished scientists who write well about science, federal officials who communicate to Congress about science, and science journalists who weigh in with their own expertise. In this long-overdue volume, scientists, engineers, and journalists will find both a convincing rationale for communicating well about science and many practical methods for doing so.

Author Bio

Carolyn Johnsen teaches science writing in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the author of Raising a Stink: The Struggle over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska, available in a Bison Books edition.
Contributors: David Ehrenstein, Leslie Fink, John Janovy Jr., Kristine Kelly, Warren Leary, Stacey Pasco, Sidney Perkowitz, Boyce Rensberger, Margaret Wertheim, Gene Whitney, Eddy Von Mueller, and Abby Vogel.


"[Taking Science to the People] makes an excellent case for the need for scientists and science-knowledgeable journalists to communicate the findings of science to the public. . . . These writings offer an incentive for action in academic science and journalism departments. " —R.E. Buntrock, Choice

Table of Contents



      Carolyn Johnsen

1. "The Difficulty of Nubbing Together a Regurgitative Purwell and a Superaminative Wennel Sprocket"

      Leslie Fink

2. Who Is Science Writing For?

      Margaret Wertheim

3. Taking Your Science to the Capital

      Gene Whitney

4. Building a Better Science Communicator

      Stacey Pasco

5. Reflections of an Engineer/Science Writer

      Abby Vogel

6. Translating Science: From Academia to Mass Media to the Public

      Kristine Kelly

7. Building New Media's Science Information on the Pillars of Journalism

      Warren Leary

8. Preparing Scientists to Deal with Reporters

      Boyce Rensberger

9. Picture Power

      David Ehrenstein

10. Communicating Real Science through Hollywood Science

      Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller

Afterword: The Challenge and the Need to Talk and Write about Science

      John Janovy Jr.


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