Think Like a Scientist: Media and Writing
My Efforts to Show How Scientists Think About the Problems That Life Throws At Us
Nature, February 1999 Why did a light-hearted experiment attract so much attention from the media? The episode is an interesting lesson for those wanting to explain science to the wider public – equations do not always scare people away. Here is my justification: Physics takes the biscuit copy
The Daily Telegraph One of the best media stories about the physics of dunking a biscuit. Unlike some newspapers, the Daily Telegraph actually got the equation right, and also explained just what it meant extremely well. Conclusion: Many journalists are really keen to help put over what science is about. It is really up to scientists to help them more. View image of article
Here are a couple of letters representing the extremes of the many that I have received: Abusive Letter re Dunking Sir, I have just watched a programme on TV on how to dunk a biscuit which I believe was a project headed by yourself. What a complete waste of time, of manpower and machinery. Who in their right mind could sanction this scheme. I am sure you could be more dutifully employed as street cleaners or ticket collectors. Is this ...
Pre-dating my biscuit dunking activities, I held a British Association Media Fellowship in 1996 which allowed me to be involved with BBC Television’s “Megalab” programme, for which I conceived and organised a World Record Indoor Boomerang competition. It was all great fun, and the winner threw and caught his tiny cardboard boomerang a record 21 times around a pole 3 meters away! View image of article