Friday, July 13, 2007

Science writing (Julie)

Small, Yes, but Mighty: The Molecule Called Water

by Natalie Angier

NY Times, July 10, 2007

This article is just tangential related to evolution (see the first few lines of the article). But what struck me about it is how the author's writing style highlights an idea presented in A Flock of Dodos. The film suggested that scientists tend to be weaker communicators and basically less personable than creationists. This article in the NY Times is about water, H2O. However, the writing is done in such a way to be more like a story and less scientific. For example:

With their hydrogen bonds, water molecules become sticky, cohering as a liquid into droplets and rivulets and following each other around like a jiggling conga line.
A jiggling conga line? Definitely not the scientific way of describing hydrogen bonds. However, this description and others in Angier's article are fun to read and more interesting than a chemistry textbook's description. I can see the arguments for and against toning down science to be more accessible to the layperson. But perhaps the creationists garner more support because their ideas are easier to grasp and their spokespeople are more approachable?

Another article of Angier's that I read a couple of months ago is:

Sleek, Fast and Focused: The Cells That Make Dad Dad

No comments: