COMMUNICATING SCIENCE

Scientificwriting is one of several communications skills that science students have to master. When communicating scientific concepts, one faces two contradictions: accuracy and simplicity. When one tries to explain ascientificconcept accurately, it is often necessary to communicate in scientific jargon. This means using terms thatnon-specialists or non-scientists are unlikely to be familiar with. On the other hand, the science communicator must try to explain difficult and abstract concepts using everyday language, so that those concepts are understood by all. Getting the right balance between these is difficult. In his acceptance speech at the Nobel prize awards ceremony, the French biologists told his audience "In describing genetic mechanisms, there is a choice between being inexact and incomprehensible. In making this presentation, I shall try to be as inexact as conscience permits"!

Just as in the legal profession (for example), there are many rules and guidelines that apply to scientific writing. Indeed, the 'mechanics' of scientific writing can be confusing to students. In the following pages, I have tried to summarise some excellent publications in this area.

Scientific Writing - University of Sydney
Scientific writing - American Scientist
Effective presentations - Hafler, 2011

sham.nair@mq.edu.au
shamnair@gmail.com

Sham Nair 2014