We can save science with stories

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In a time of polarised opinion, mainstream denial of science, and increasingly high stakes for all, accurate information is more important than ever. Without information, we cannot understand society.

But simply collecting the data is not enough. It must also be analysed, tested, and communicated. The communication part of science is too often neglected. We like to entertain the stereotype of scientists as antisocial creatures, content to hide behind their thick, foggy goggles. But scientists spend as much time explaining their findings to governments, children, research councils and the public as they do in the lab.

They have to. Science only thrives when it is communicated effectively — when the case for fact-based plans is made to the people who make decisions.

We forget that some of the best scientists are some of the best communicators, too. Think of David Attenborough, Angela Merkel, Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. In other words, in order to be a good scientist, you have to be a good communicator.

One way you can learn to communicate science is to write for Palatinate.

The quality and range of writing produced by this SciTech section meant we were last year nominated for “Best Science Publication or Section” by the SPA, the UK’s largest student media association.

We need to make sure that science stories are told, and that they are told in an accessible way

With its uncertainties, scale and conflicts of interest, global climate change must surely be the scientific battle of our generation. But it is by no means the only battleground on which science is being questioned, criticised and denied.

In the previous edition of Palatinate, we covered genetically engineered crops, and their potential to dominate our food system, while in this this edition, we explore the opportunities and dangers of Artificial Intelligence.

We need to make sure that science stories are told, and that they are told in an accessible way. While drafting this note aloud, my co-editors both agreed with me, “simple words are underrated.”

We want to hear from you, whether you have written for us before or not; whether you know one of the editors or not; whether you think you’re a writer or not. Join our Facebook group ‘Palatinate SciTech Contributors’ or drop us a line at scitech@palatinate.org.uk.

Faye Saulsbury, Science & Technology Editor 2020

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