Talking Science


Seed takes a timely look at the problems of communicating science to the general public, and finds that many of the problems are more basic than thought. While the article is written in context of the “Republican War on Science” there are lessons for those trying to communicate nanotech.

For example the “greenhouse effect”, a term coined by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius in 1896, simply confuses people. Apprently “few Americans have any firsthand experience of greenhouses, and they don’t grasp the proposed analogy between carbon dioxide (a gas) and glass walls. So instead, Grady and Aubrun (of Cultural Logic) suggest talking about a “carbon dioxide blanket” encircling the earth–an explanation that instantly helps people understand why a heating effect is taking place.”

Now, how about an acceptable term for a nanotube?

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