Don’t scientists talk a load of old prattle?
Put an academic in front of a TV camera, and it’s odd how many of the world’s top brains seem unable to communicate what they mean. Of course there are the exceptions, and often they are scooped up by news agencies and media outlets.
I remember being told in my first year at medical school by a doctor ‘I find it difficult to know what normal people understand’. This seemed a bizarre thing to say. But after five years of academia immersed in scientific jargon – I suddenly understood what he meant. I would find myself coming out with phrases like “Of course, the implication of that theory manifests itself in compelling ways”. No wonder friends and family thought I was quirky.
If ever you’ve wondered what scientists actually mean, this nifty table that summarises it nicely:
A recent article published in Physics Today highlighted how academics need to think carefully about what they say and write, else they risk being completely misunderstood.
Lecturing 16-19 year olds has taught me that the fastest route to student’s boredom is pummelling them with jargon. True, it may be more correct and precise, but if it’s not understood it is meaningless.
We set up Guru Magazine to communicate science concepts and current research in a way that anyone can understand (and hopefully find engaging). It’s a tough thing to do – not compromising facts, yet staying understandable.
Of course, if we get it wrong – we’re nice enough let you put us straight.
Somerville, R., & Hassol, S. (2011). Communicating the science of climate change Physics Today, 64 (10) DOI: 10.1063/PT.3.1296