Making science known

in STEMGeekslast month

Popularizing science ─trying to make its methods and discoveries accessible to non-scientists─ is something that comes next, naturally and immediately. Not explaining science seems perverse to me. When you fall in love, you want to tell the world about it.

Carl Sagan, The World and Its Demons.

Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels

A science communicator is a person who feels a great appreciation for making known what he knows and for seeing how, whoever learns it, achieves it thanks to him. His goal is to reach a group of ordinary people. A good teacher, for example, must be a disseminator because without this impulse the result of his work would only be a job done just to get by.

If we add to this the adjective "scientific" we reduce a little the spectrum of topics he would deal with, since his interest would be inclined towards facts that have been proven using the scientific method or safe testable methods. Since much of the knowledge resulting from research developed by scientists tends to include technical words that are difficult for ordinary people to understand, the scientific popularizer makes them easily accessible, because his interest is that they be understood by everyone, in addition to satisfying his personal desire to teach.

To be a science popularizer one needs, first of all, the need to teach and to amaze. Even if it is done as a means to satisfy his own ego of intellectual superiority.

Then, it is necessary that you have a good understanding of the subject you are dealing with so that your information is not plagued by the viruses of lies. Furthermore, if he avoids egocentrism and accepts that he cannot always know everything, he ensures in the apprentice the idea of advancement and not stagnation as a result of idolizing the master, that is, he avoids the apprentice saying: "I will never be as intelligent as the master" or "what the master says is sacred word".

Lastly, and completing the cycle in my opinion, is the desire to know. Commonly, whoever knows something wants to teach it. As Carl Sagan says in reference to his love of science: "when you fall in love you want to tell the world about it". Perhaps this should be the first thing that is needed to be a science communicator, because those who have this desire to learn, in the long run, when this knowledge reaches them, will feel the sharp intention of spreading their knowledge.

In my humble opinion, a science communicator must have these characteristics:

  1. He serves as a filter between technical terms and common language.
  2. Uses basic examples to explain complex ideas.
  3. Concentrates more on the results of scientific research and simplifies the processes.
  4. Wonders people with the advances of science. Or rather, brings the wonders that science has achieved closer to people.
  5. Cite sources, and the more the better.
  6. Clearly states when you are giving an opinion, speculating, or entering into an area of hypothetical.
  7. Debunks pseudoscientific hoaxes that may cause harm to people by using science or proven scientific work.
  8. It generates a skeptical attitude as an initial step to obtaining knowledge, therefore, it can incite more doubts.
  9. Accepts limitations and mistakes.
  10. He is excited to see that his effort pays off. Like anyone who does a good job.

What would our life be like without science? Perhaps we would continue to shed the blood of innocents sacrificed under the promise of a better life in the afterlife, while hoping that their pain and inexperienced body would appease the insufferable wrath of the god or gods.

We would burn our fear along with the supposed heresy represented by a voice that only wanted answers or ventured a sly and provocative question but closer to a truth unacceptable to the upper hierarchy.

Our world is technological thanks to the rigor of science. And so rapid has been its growth and so strong its hermeticism that it mistakenly turned away from the majority and the majority turned away from it when it was overcome by its complexity.

Nevertheless, we are science. We use it and it is not feasible not to know what it is all about. Ignorance is a problem when because of it we are led to harm ourselves or others. And it is not a fair excuse to say that it is everyone's fault but our own.

Information is overflowing in our virtual library. And if something is hard to understand, the more necessary it is to understand it so that we don't fall into the clutches of manipulation and bad decision making.

And since science wanted to move away from everyday understanding out of necessity (it is not reproached since it did so for the sake of objectivity), it is important to filter it so that we are all aware of the little piece of truth that we are probably discovering. This is when the science communicator comes into the picture. And we can all be one.

Social networks (Like this) are being used successfully, I believe, for the propagation of good scientific information. And in other times, authors such as Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Galileo, Martin Gardner, Richard Feynman, and a long etcetera would have done it, showing how important it is to make science topics known to us, the non-scientists.

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 last month 

What are you translating this from?

My native language is spanish. I wrote it in Spanish and then translated it into English.