For the same weight, gasoline delivers 720 times the energy of a bullet.
— Richard A. Mueller, Physics for Future Presidents
A square yard of sunlight delivers about a kilowatt when it hits the ground, the same as the average electric power used by a U.S. household
— Physics for Future Presidents, by Richard A. Muller
Nothing in science has any value to society if it is not communicated, and scientists are beginning to learn their social obligations.
— Anne Roe, The Making of a Scientist (1953)
Scientists often talk about their work only with other scientists within their specialized research field. As a result, they spend years learning to speak in a technical dialect full of acronyms and jargon that is difficult for others to understand.
If the person off the street can’t understand you, is that a sign that you’re incredibly smart and well educated? Actually, in my opinion it means the opposite. If you really understand something, then you should be able to explain it to anyone. You shouldn’t have to rely on jargon or math. And you should also be able to explain why the concept is relevant to “real” life.
So, my challenge for this science blog is to be able to communicate about science using every day language. I spend much of my time at work writing dry technical publications, reports and grants. This is my attempt to talk in a more conversational way about science news and what it is like to be a woman scientist.