Sunday, September 21, 2014

Popular Science: A Quick Guide

If you are a science buff or a scientist or somebody with a passion for science, you will say a resounding "yes" for that question. After all, most of what we are right now is because of science and the technology brought up by the scientific enterprise. Most of the things you use and apply in the real world is tied to a scientific principle or two.

But is Popular Science important in our everyday life? When I say "everyday life", that means from the time you wake up till the time you sleep. That is an interesting question, considering that most of the earth's inhabitants are not scientifically literate. In western nations, there is a trend in the rising "decline" of science literacy among its populace. So is the rest of the world. Maybe in terms of the number of scientists and engineers, the west is lagging behind Asia, but that is not what's important here. What is important is that we have a possible problem here and that is the problem with the world becoming too scientifically illiterate.

What is Science literacy? What is Popular science? We need to know these terminologies first before we can actually tackle the importance Popular science gives us in reshaping peoples views about science and technology and its various principles.

First we have the word "literacy:.
*The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society".

And now we have Scientific Literacy:
** According to the United States National Center for Education Statistics, "scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity". A scientifically literate person is defined as one who has the capacity to:

- understand experiment and reasoning as well as basic scientific facts and their meaning
- ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences
- describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena
- read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions
- identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed
- evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it
- pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately

You do not need to be a very smart person to be scientifically literate. In fact, most of the information that you learned in Science classes during your youth are still very valuable even a decade or two after your education. And more information is being presented and showed to us through Popular Science.

Popular Science is intended for the general audience. It is science, without the complexity and being shown to the public as simply as it can. As Wikipedia states:

Popular science is a bridge between scientific literature as a professional medium of scientific research, and the realms of popular political and cultural discourse. The goal of the genre is often to capture the methods and accuracy of science, while making the language more accessible.

I think the role of popular science in today's world is to make sure that scientific news, discoveries, and breakthroughs will be shown, explained, and appreciated by the masses. By using all the different mediums possible, we can spread awareness of scientific literacy to the general public. This is a very good tool, in which we can actually make an impact to people.

Even though there is a lukewarm reception to science themed programs on the air and on cyberspace, we, who are responsible Scientifically literate citizens, has a mission, to spread awareness and appreciation of science and technology, appreciate the beauty of this planet and of the cosmos as a whole.

Well Known English Popularizers of Science:

***In alphabetical order by last name:

John Acorn, naturalist and broadcaster known as the "Nature Nut"
Amir Aczel, author and mathematician
Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist and broadcaster
Hashem AL-ghaili, biotechnologist
Jim Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist, author and science communicator
Alan Alda, actor
Michael Allaby, writes on science, ecology and weather

Elise Andrew, British blogger, founder and maintainer of the Facebook page "I Fucking Love Science"

Natalie Angier, science journalist and writer
Isaac Asimov, biochemist, science fiction writer and author
Peter Atkins, physical chemist and author
David Attenborough, naturalist and broadcaster


Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, & author
Johnny Ball, broadcaster and math popularizer
John D. Barrow, mathematician, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist; author of numerous journal articles, and books for general readers
Marcia Bartusiak, science journalist and author
David Bellamy, broadcaster, author, and botanist
Bob Berman, astronomer
Adrian Berry, science author and columnist
Howard Bloom, author
David Bodanis, author
Liz Bonnin, biochemist and TV presenter
Daniel J. Boorstin, author and Librarian of Congress
Sir David Brewster, Scottish scientist
John Brockman, specializing authorship in scientific literature
Jacob Bronowski, mathematician, biologist, historian of science, author and pioneering science broadcaster
Bill Bryson, author
Rob Buckman, doctor of medicine, broadcaster, columnist, author
James Burke, broadcaster, television producer, and author; best known for the science historian BBC TV series Connections
Nigel Calder, broadcaster and journalist
Fritjof Capra, physicist and author
Sean Carroll, cosmologist, blogger, and author
Rachel Carson, marine biologist, conservationist, author
Marcus Chown, author and science journalist
Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction author, inventor, and futurist
Brian Clegg, author
Jack Cohen, reproductive biologist
Heather Couper, astronomer, broadcaster and author
Brian Cox, broadcaster, musician and physicist
Francis Crick, molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist; joint discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule
Paul Davies, physicist, author and broadcaster
Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author
Michael DeBakey, world-renowned cardiac surgeon, innovator, and author
Daniel Dennett, philosopher, cognitive scientist and author
Alexander Dewdney, mathematician, computer scientist and philosopher
Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist, physiologist and geographer
Robin Dunbar, anthropology; evolutionary psychology, culture and language; and specialist in primate behaviour
Marcus Du Sautoy, author, broadcaster, Professor of Mathematics
David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author
Sir Arthur Eddington, astrophysicist
Gerald Edelman, from the immune system, analogously, to brain & mind
Loren Eiseley, Professor of Anthropology and History of Science
Peter Fairley, journalist and broadcaster
Michael Faraday, scientist and lecturer
Kenneth Feder, archaeologist, skeptic, lecturer, and author
Timothy Ferris, science writer and best-selling author of twelve books
Richard Feynman, physicist and author
Brian J. Ford, biologist, lecturer and author
Morgan Freeman, actor, host of popular science series Through the Wormhole
George Gamow, physicist, cosmologist and author
Martin Gardner, mathematician, author, skeptic & polymath extraordinaire
Atul Gawande, surgeon and author
Malcolm Gladwell, journalist and author
James Gleick, author and journalist
Ben Goldacre, medical doctor, psychiatrist and author
Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and science historian; author of numerous essays, articles, and books
Steve Grand, computer scientist and roboticist


Brian Greene, physicist
Susan Greenfield, brain physiologist, writer and broadcaster
Richard Gregory, neuropsychologist, author and editor of several books
John Gribbin, astronomer and author
Heinz Haber, physicist and author
Thomas Hager, author and science journalist
J. B. S. Haldane, biologist and author
Bas Haring, philosopher and author
Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author
Lucy Hawking, journalist and daughter of Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and author
Don Herbert, a.k.a. Mr. Wizard, broadcaster
Christopher Hitchens, author, journalist and essayist
Roald Hoffmann, chemist
Douglas Hofstadter, computer scientist, cognitive scientist and author
Lancelot Hogben, experimental zoologist and medical statistician, with many popularising books on science, mathematics and language
Julian Huxley, eminent scientist, author, and first Director of UNESCO
Jamie Hyneman, special effects artist and TV personality (MythBusters)
Jay Ingram, broadcaster and author (Daily Planet)
Steve Irwin, wildlife expert and conservationist; TV personality of the worldwide-fame wildlife documentary TV series (The Crocodile Hunter)
Ray Jayawardhana, astrophysicist and author
Steven Johnson, author
Steve Jones, evolutionary biologist and author
Horace Freeland Judson, historian of molecular biology and author
Olivia Judson, evolutionary biologist, broadcaster and author
Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and author
Lawrence Krauss, physicist and author
Robert Krulwich, broadcaster
Karl Kruszelnicki, a.k.a. Dr Karl, broadcaster
Richard Leakey, Kenyan paleoanthropologist and conservationist
John Lennox, mathematician and author
Daniel Levitin, cognitive neuroscientist and author
Roger Lewin, British anthropologist
Richard Lewontin, evolutionary biologist, geneticist and author
Chris Lintott, astrophysicist
Bob McDonald, CBC journalist and host of Quirks and Quarks
Alister McGrath, molecular biologist and author
Lynn Margulis, evolutionary biologist and author
Robert Matthews, physicist, mathematician, computer scientist, and distinguished science journalist
Peter Medawar, biologist, called by Richard Dawkins "the wittiest of all scientific writers"[4] and by New Scientist "perhaps the best science writer of his generation".[5]
Fulvio Melia, physicist, astrophysicist and author
Julius Sumner Miller, physicist and broadcaster
Mark Miodownik, materials scientist, engineer, broadcaster and writer
Ashley Montagu, anthropologist and humanist, authored by over 60 books
Sir Patrick Moore, amateur astronomer and broadcaster

Desmond Morris, zoologist, ethologist and author
Philip Morrison, physicist, known for his numerous books & TV programs
Randall Munroe, writer of What if blog
PZ Myers, professor and author of the science blog Pharyngula[6]
Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japanese inventor
Jayant Narlikar, cosmologist and author
Steven Novella, skeptic and advocate of science-based medicine
Bill Nye, broadcaster and mechanical engineer, called the Science Guy
Tor Nørretranders, author
Sten Odenwald, astronomer, author, lecturer
Robert Olby, author and historian of science
Chad Orzel, physicist and author
Linus Pauling, one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century
John Allen Paulos, mathematician and author
Fred Pearce, journalist at New Scientist
Yakov I. Perelman, author
Steven Pinker, experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and author
Phil Plait, astronomer and skeptic who runs the Bad Astronomy website
Martyn Poliakoff, British chemist, featured in the YouTube The Periodic Table of Videos series
John Polkinghorne, physicist and author
Robert Pollack, biologist and author
Carolyn Porco, leader of Cassini Imaging Team
Roy Porter, prolific work on the history of medicine
Christopher Potter, publisher, philosopher and author
Magnus Pyke, food scientist, broadcaster and author
V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist, cognitive scientist and author
James Randi, stage magician, skeptic and author
Lisa Randall, theoretical physicist and author
Mark Ridley, zoologist, evolutionary scientist and author
Matt Ridley, zoologist, journalist and author
Alice Roberts, anatomist, anthropologist, television presenter and author
Steven Rose, biologist, neurobiologist, broadcaster and author
Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author
Carl Sagan, astrobiologist, astronomer, broadcaster and author
Kirsten Sanford, neurophysiologist and broadcaster
Adam Savage, special effects artist and TV personality (MythBusters)
Eric Scerri, chemist, historian and philosopher of science, and author
Seth Shostak, astronomer, broadcaster and author
Neil Shubin, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist
George Gaylord Simpson, paleontologist, zoologist and author
Simon Singh, physicist, mathematician and author
Edwin Emery Slosson, chemist, journalist and editor
Iain Stewart, geologist and broadcaster
Ian Stewart, mathematician and author
David Suzuki, broadcaster, geneticist and environmental activist
Lewis Thomas, physician, poet, etymologist, and essayist
Chriet Titulaer, Dutch astronomer, author and broadcaster
Colin Tudge, biologist and author
Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author
Kevin Warwick, biomedical scientist, roboticist and author
Michael White, musician and science writer
Norbert Wiener, mathematician, author; the father of cybernetics
Robert Winston, medical doctor, scientist, TV presenter and author
Richard Wiseman, psychologist and author
Stephen Wolfram, mathematics, theoretical physics, scientific computing
Lewis Wolpert, developmental biologist, author and broadcaster
Peter Wothers, chemist and author
Carl Zimmer, science writer and author of the science blog The Loom[7]
Marlene Zuk, evolutionary biologist and behaviorial ecologist

There are many different sources of Popular Science shows, articles, and websites:

Of course we have the usual channels National Geographic, Science, and Discovery Channels. If I missed something please comment below!

15 most popular science websites:

50 popular science blogs:

100 science blogs every student should subscribe to:

Partial list on Wikipedia:

Partial list from Guardian:

10 Youtube channels that will make you smarter:

100 most subscribed Science-Tech channels on Youtube

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