The economy of promises
Vol. 32, Num. 2
In this article, author Richard Jones notes that, since the majority of the public learns about scientific issues from the popular mass media, nanoscientists need to learn to communicate effectively with the media without comprising or oversimplifying their research. The power of the popular media, and many funding agencies' new emphasis on achieving rapid and dramatic results, has adversely effected the kinds of projects which scientists propose, and the kinds of promises which scientists have made concerning their work. Exaggeration concerning the potential merits of one's research have been endemic within the nanotechnology community, Jones maintains, a development might severely damage the future of the field, as scientists make grandiose promises which their research cannot develop. Often times, even when scientists themselves make modest claims for their research and its significance, the popular media will transform their tentative conclusions into strong, definitive statements. Nanoscientists and researchers thus need to be very careful in their communications with the popular media, which all too often distorts and misrepresents their work.