Century of Science: Connection

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from ScienceNews


Pick your favorite quote about the power of words and there’s probably some truth to it. “Choose your words wisely.” “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” How we talk about the world can certainly shape how we think about it.

From how we define “planet” to what we consider “sound science,” words can influence the questions scientists ask and the conclusions they draw (as well as how much trust they put in those conclusions). Words can spur new ideas — or stand in the way of a deeper understanding. Words can invite people to explore science — but can also make people feel that science isn’t for them; whether purposeful or not, words can exclude. When it comes to communicating science, careful word choice gets a lot of attention. How do you talk about evolution with people who don’t believe, for example? What’s the best way to say that human-caused climate change is real?

This collection highlights the many ways that the language we use affects science, and how people understand it.


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