22 May 2007

Link of the day: Myths of Science Writing

Chad Orzel has an excellent post about science writing, in particular, habits and conventions that he finds irritating. It's interesting that these conventions seem to be artifacts of history. Using passive and indirect language is apparently due to Francis Bacon (says Sean Carroll). [Be sure to also read the part where Bacon personifies science as a shy woman who needs to be seduced.] The idea that scientific writing should incorporate "surprise" is probably due to how science is typically presented to the public -- something magical and mystical. For a while, I, too, thought that I needed to hide all my results until the very end.

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