A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public, reviewed


Nature Neuroscience‘s December issue features a review of Cornelia Dean’s book Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public ( Nature Neurosci. 12, 1477; 2009). Dean is a journalist and former editor of the popular science section at the New York Times, and according to reviewer Dario L Ringach of the University of California, Los Angeles, “extends a compelling invitation to researchers to participate more in public life, to explain their work to science journalists, to contribute to national policy debates and to do so not only when their funding is at stake.” In the review, Ringach asks why scientists should communicate with the public, and mentions some obstacles in communication between scientists and journalists. He concludes:

“It is time for all of us to have a more active role in society and provide our input to public policy; we must go beyond the publication of scientific articles. I admit my own recent incursion into the media was not driven by any of the above considerations, but from threats by animal-rights extremists. I don’t recommend you take the same road. Instead, read this powerful book and you will be easily convinced that it is your obligation to devote time outside the laboratory to communicating the wonderful work you are doing, your excitement, its importance and how the public stands to benefit from it. Is there anyone out there ready to talk about science? I certainly am.”

Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public

By Cornelia Dean

Harvard University Press: 2009 288 pp. $19.95



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