How journals became – evolution of the form

Someone asked on twitter the other day if there was a good history of the scientific journal. A memory of this book, compiled by Alan Gross and colleagues, stirred, but I really couldn’t remember where I’d written about it, or trace a version of the review. I have it now (thanks to the same inquirer) […]

The end of genes? Writing with new metaphors…

Evelyn Keller was always brilliant at dissecting the assumptions imported into scientific description in the form of metaphors – whether in scientific o rpopular discourse. This (quite long) essay on how we write about genes when they keep shape shifting under the inspection of new scientific techniques doesn’t mention her book The Century of the […]

Inarticulate Science – beyond the deficit model

This small piece originally ran under the heading “Translating the Language of the Lab”, but I’d steer clear of the translation metaphor now, at least without careful elucidation. It records early stirrings of useful UK research on public understanding of science. I liked the book because it came out of an education department and the […]

Madmen and monster makers – scientists in literature

Review of an old favourite – Roslynn Haynes excellent survey volume From Faust to Strangelove. There’s a lot to cover, but she manages it very well. A book that stayed on my shelf for ready reference. On they march, the fictional scientists. The best are well intentioned but misguided. Some are simply intent on knowledge, […]

Dorothy Nelkin and Susan Lindee – The DNA Mystique

One of the several books that came out in the ’90s on media and cultural images of DNA and genes. Celeste Condit’s offering is complementary. Tomorrow’s Children, a film first seen in the US in 1934, features a courtroom battle over sterilisation. An evil-looking young man with a violent history is spared the operation because […]

Celeste Condit – The Meanings of the Gene

Public understanding of science types (I was one for quite a while) are easily diverted by topics in the news. Genetics was big in the ’80s and ’90s, for example. There were other, good reasons for this as well. Lots of science going on, and some medical and other application. And there were some good […]