I read with keen interest Seth Shostak ’65’s “Science Under Attack” (feature, March 22). Many less educated in our society might love to learn what highly educated intellectuals have learned. Yet these laypersons do not have a language to reach the heights that the truly learned have attained. In our era, increasingly tethered to technological advance, the gap that exists between esteemed intellectuals and the general public creates real danger. Ironically, the “real world” that most in society experience, and that some believe scientists have abandoned, remains the stuff of incredible scientific explorations.
I do not argue that the competition is not stiff — watching television, surfing the net, and texting useless nothings may seem much more fun to most than stretching one’s brain around brilliant concepts. But in order to reach the broader population, proponents of science will need to reach out more empathetically to the rest of society.
By going through the steps of showing society the process of science, the wrenching self-doubt and the argumentation that goes into scientific discovery, scientists might come to learn that the majority of the population would respect and greatly appreciate science’s awesome beauty and challenges. Many have already started this effort, and I agree with Shostak that younger generations provide us all hope for the future of science literacy.