0. Motivation
We live in a world in which we have to handle lots of information. In this world, critical thinking, the ability to reason, analysing and solving problems are important skills. Science, which is a body of knowledge, but, more important, it is also a method, could be a basic tool to improve those skills. An interesting strategy to communicate science and improve science education could be using aesthetic elements in the communication process in order to create a beautiful communication object. This object might get people’s attention and make the communication process more effective.

1. What is beauty?
If we want to use aesthetic elements in communication objects, we should have an idea of what is beautiful and what is not beautiful. Not an easy job at all! I will try to give some examples of beautiful things, using the classical relationship between beauty, truth and simplicity. Finally, I will discuss some definitions of beauty.

2. Beauty in writing
Once we have an idea of what makes a thing beautiful, I will discuss how beauty can be implemented in the writing process. I will use the concept of literary canons and the example of the so called “New Journalism”, created in the sixties by T. Wolfe, G. Talese, N. Mailer, T. Capote and other writers, which consisted of using literary techniques to tell true stories.

3. Beauty in science
Science has in its very core extremely powerful aesthetic components. The fact that we can use the same simple principle to understand lots of different phenomena that are apparently disconnected can cause a deep feeling of beauty. A different feeling that may have the same intensity as the feelings that music, literature or cinema can bring. To give an example, I will use the story of Einstein, who was convinced, just because of its beauty, that his general theory of relativity was right before the experiments were carried out.

4. Conclusion

Although is very difficult to get to a general conclusion on how to create beautiful written objects to communicate science, the main point is, in my opinion, to use the inherent beauty of science and use aesthetic writing tools. I will give some examples that contain all the elements I mentioned during the talk and some examples that don’t.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Beauty in science writing

Toni Pou   Science writer, author of the book awarded with the spanish “God Award in Investigative Journalism”, www.tonipou.com

0. Motivation
We live in a world in which we have to handle lots of information. In this world, critical thinking, the ability to reason, analysing and solving problems are important skills. Science, which is a body of knowledge, but, more important, it is also a method, could be a basic tool to improve those skills. An interesting strategy to communicate science and improve science education could be using aesthetic elements in the communication process in order to create a beautiful communication object. This object might get people’s attention and make the communication process more effective.

1. What is beauty?
If we want to use aesthetic elements in communication objects, we should have an idea of what is beautiful and what is not beautiful. Not an easy job at all! I will try to give some examples of beautiful things, using the classical relationship between beauty, truth and simplicity. Finally, I will discuss some definitions of beauty.

2. Beauty in writing
Once we have an idea of what makes a thing beautiful, I will discuss how beauty can be implemented in the writing process. I will use the concept of literary canons and the example of the so called “New Journalism”, created in the sixties by T. Wolfe, G. Talese, N. Mailer, T. Capote and other writers, which consisted of using literary techniques to tell true stories.

3. Beauty in science
Science has in its very core extremely powerful aesthetic components. The fact that we can use the same simple principle to understand lots of different phenomena that are apparently disconnected can cause a deep feeling of beauty. A different feeling that may have the same intensity as the feelings that music, literature or cinema can bring. To give an example, I will use the story of Einstein, who was convinced, just because of its beauty, that his general theory of relativity was right before the experiments were carried out.

4. Conclusion

Although is very difficult to get to a general conclusion on how to create beautiful written objects to communicate science, the main point is, in my opinion, to use the inherent beauty of science and use aesthetic writing tools. I will give some examples that contain all the elements I mentioned during the talk and some examples that don’t.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP