Public Perception of Science

There was an article published recently in STAT about how many Americans don’t know a single scientist. Scientists are normally busy doing research, teaching students, applying for grants, and communicating their work to other scientists rather than trying to share what they do with the community. Because of this, most people don’t have a good idea of what the scientific method is, and how it is different than an opinion that someone has put up on the internet. So, this leads to a scenario where even if someone wanted to learn about science, they are left to look through a wide expanse of information on the internet and no one to turn to with questions.

More and more scientists are becoming activists to address this problem. However, not everyone thinks this will help due to the confrontational nature of events like the science march. The best way to change the current climate of scientific distrust may instead be on the individual level: showing our friends and colleagues what we do, why we do it, and why it’s important. Without friendly and open discussion of these topics, the community as a whole will never learn how to understand opposing ideologies. It is up to scientists to reach out in as many ways possible (blogs, new friend groups, community service, professional organizations) because we don’t know what will work and when the tipping point will be when everyone finally sees the value of the scientific method again.