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hlehman's picture

Finding a balance

 I understand what you mean about the frustration of academic writing and how difficult it seems for people to find the balance between trying too hard to relate to the general public vs. listing a complex discussion that only 3 people can actually understand. We discussed in class that there is a greater chance of community acceptance of “dry” science writing and it is selection pressures that cause people to take their abstracts in one direction or another, but I truly think there is a way to find a balance. First semester I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as our intro bio “textbook” but I was excited to see it was far from the dry science textbooks I used in high school. This book not only conveyed the important scientific information that we used to learn about cell biology and cancer in class, but we learned the interesting, exciting, background story of the woman behind it all. A few weeks into class I was also on the phone with my grandma and found out that she was actually reading the same book for her book club and was able to recount all of the scientific details and have a deep discussion about what she thought. I think that this is important because it shows authors don’t need to “dumb down” scientific writing, or take the easy way out by producing something dry and uninspired. I think that when it comes to publishing things on the internet we should still hold standards to our writing and not censor ourselves so anyone at any age can understand every detail. There is a way to be creative, write about science, and appeal to a large audience who will appreciate the writing for what it is, and I think that it is a realistic concept that is starting to catch on.

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