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Illuminating Scientific Facts Through Fiction

The need for the popularization of science is almost as old as science itself. Like every generation with its own set of societal problems, ours thinks of today's problems as particularly acute. Current examples are the explosive growth of scientific information at a time when general scientific illiteracy is growing alarmingly; the complexity of "technological fixes" presented to a risk-aversive public suffering from chemophobia and oncophobia; the almost pathetic desire of legislators and com

Carl Djerassi

The need for the popularization of science is almost as old as science itself. Like every generation with its own set of societal problems, ours thinks of today's problems as particularly acute. Current examples are the explosive growth of scientific information at a time when general scientific illiteracy is growing alarmingly; the complexity of "technological fixes" presented to a risk-aversive public suffering from chemophobia and oncophobia; the almost pathetic desire of legislators and communications media for simple black-and-white answers to intrinsically gray questions.

There is no single optimum solution, other than the nirvana of universal, high-class education. Nevertheless, the need for improved communication with the general nonscientific and even antiscientific public continues to seize our attention, as witness several letters from readers of The Scientist in response to John Wilkes' article "Scientists Should Spend More Time Communicating With The Public" (The Scientist, Jan. 8, 1990, page 15) and...

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