News outlets often convey realities of science poorly
Kevin Squires, It's Rocket Science
August 28, 2014
The world of science is a beautiful and fantastic place, except it’s not really the world of science – it’s the world with science. Science is ubiquitous. It is the air we breathe, the cars we drive, the medicine we take, the food we eat and our very lives themselves. As you should see, science is something that affects us all in some way or another.
However, a terrifying reality of this world is that science is very often misunderstood by so many not in the sciences (and sometimes even by those that are). This misunderstanding results in things like thousands of people buying “miracle drugs” after seeing them on TV, going on diets that cut out essential foods, failing to realize their impact on the environment or strictly resolving not to receive deadly-illness preventing vaccinations.
Don’t feel bad if that’s been you before, in fact that’s one of my main reasons for starting this column. It can be a real challenge to figure out what is myth or misconstrued and what is actually being stated by researchers, especially when know-it-alls like to use words like ubiquitous and assume you know it means universally or when TV doctors are endorsing products that they know don’t work as they say or the media is exaggerating research findings in presenting them to the public.
The introduction to any good scientific paper will provide the reader with some necessary background information, provide relevance for the topic, and explain what is going to be addressed by the paper. The introduction is the go-to place when you want to understand what is going on and why it’s happening. That being said, welcome to the first installment (and introduction) of “It’s Rocket Science,” a column that I plan to use to open a discussion and provide insight on some of the most important topics of today’s world that all tie back to science.
As a senior biology major and editor-in-chief of The Rocket, I am extremely passionate about science and conveying the latest, most important information to the public. I hope that “It’s Rocket Science” will allow me to bring both together and give readers the chance be a part of my passions.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be exploring topics like vaccinations and the notion they cause autism, what makes a healthy diet and why, where homosexuality falls in terms of genetics and any big news in science. As the column takes off, I hope that readers will suggest what they want to know more about or ask questions on things they feel aren’t clear about science from the news.