Wishful thinking

Mary, my mother-in-law is seriously ill in hospital with a nasty case of pneumonia. There’s a substantial chance that she won’t make it. She just turned 51 and the last time I saw her, just a few weeks ago, she was the life and soul of the party.

My wife has flown back to Ireland and is sitting with her mum, who the medical staff are trying to stabilise enough to transport to the nearest hospital with a dialysis machine, because her kidneys have failed. Everyone is worried, scared, disorientated and utterly powerless. Continue reading

Dumbing down

I work as a museum where we are constantly trying to improve our science communication to get scientific principles across in an accessible and concise yet accurate way. It is not easy.

Science is complicated – as is the world that science attempts to describe and interpret. This makes it difficult to package science in a sound-bite-sized chunk that the lay person can quickly grasp. We end up having to trim away much of the reasoning, context and alternative interpretations of what we try to report, leaving a core of information that comes across as authoritarian and dogmatic. This is the antithesis of the scientific method. Continue reading