register onlineThis Thursday, The Chemical Heritage Foundation will hold a lecture by NPR correspondent Joe Palca on popularizing science. It’s free but you have to register online.
Here’s the CHF’s announcement:
On November 21, CHF welcomes Joe Palca, science correspondent for NPR and a guest host for Talk of the Nation Science Friday.
Palca will deliver the 2013 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture, “Covering Complex Science, or How I Explained a Frank-Kasper σ Phase in Sphere-Forming Block Copolymer Melts to a Radio Audience.”
Are some science topics too complicated to explain to a nonscientific audience? Joe Palca says the answer is no. According to Palca, any scientific topic can be explained to at least some level of abstraction. The explanation might not satisfy a scientist, but that’s not the goal of popular media. And besides, what scientific topic can be fully explained in a three-and-a-half-minute radio story?
Joe Palca was a colleague of mine at Science some years ago. The talk sounds interesting, though I wonder whether the chemical process in question really is that complex or just sounds intimidating because of the unfamiliar language. Some science stories are challenging because they involve treacherously difficult concepts or because the scientists are at odds with one another. Other times science writing really is just a simple matter of translation. To register or learn more, click here.