Thursday, May 1, 2008

Episode #3: Blinded By Science

When writer Cris Beam sat down with a neuroscientist to discuss how a particular part of the brain worked, she found that they weren't even speaking a common language. This month's show explores the intersection of writing and science. In particular, the frustrations writers have in getting a narrative out of scientists, and the frustrations scientists have with writers who might oversimplify their findings.Columbia biology professor Stuart Firestein and first-year neurobiology student Carl Schoonover know how hard it is to communicate with writers working on deadline, and they're sure science writing can be better—it has to be. Because science misunderstood can travel around the world like a game of high stakes "Telephone." Like how groundbreaking work in particle physics has devolved into a black hole that will destroy us all.

There's an art to science writing, and it's a delicate one. Science writer Charles Siebert waxes poetic about the "metaphoric bridges" writers can build between scientists' work and readers' imaginations. And Meehan Crist reads from her forthcoming nonfiction book about the nature of consciousness. {ML}

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