Writing for science

Not the magazine…

The Royal Society, representing the physical and biological sciences and the British Academy, representing the social sciences and humanities, have made their submissions and written a joint letter to the Government in respect of defending their areas from potential cuts. Unlike the Royal Association of Engineers, which had made its case by disparaging certain areas of research carried out by other institutions, these two made their case on their own merits.

The subject of science and engineering funding was one that electrified the blogosphere during the recent general election. Scientists from all disciplines brought themselves to the fore to highlight their areas in particular and science in general. The momentum from this and the gathered pace of science outreach and popular science in general has allowed the disparate network of bloggers to become more of a hardened force (or at least a slight push). There are events that allow us faceless wonders to occasionally congregate. Tweet-ups allow microbloggers using the twitter website to come together and events like Talkfest also allow the more wordy writers to meet and chat. This article summarises Jon Butterworth’s experience of the recent talkfest and if you want an example of his science writing, there’s always this article on what he’s doing at CERN. CERN itself continues to generate science articles like this one, which looks at the plan to bring Linear Accelerators back to a place most normally associated with the circular LHC.

One thing this phenomenon allows is the tackling by scientists of pseudoscientists, though there is the problem that in a battle of words, everyone is equally qualified to talk, as opposed to the battle of properly conducted research, which has a strange habit of favouring scientists. One entertaining spat lies between the ‘bad science’ exposing investigative journalist Ben Goldacre and Gillian McKeith, whose claim to a proper PhD rests on rather loose foundations. The latest salvos can be seen here.

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