Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scientific Jargon vs Reality

I saw this photo today and thought it was very funny and interesting.

While this is mostly intended for humor, it does address a real issue.

When writing anything, from scientific reports to news articles, jargon can be used in varying ways. Sometimes it can be used to obscure meaning or just to fill space. Writing would be made much better if the use of jargon and necessary words was cut down.

George Orwell said in his essay, Politics and the English Language, "In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning."

Scientists are incentivized to make even 'failed' experiments sound interesting. They won't get funding again unless their work at least seems important. Thus entire scientific articles are written that don't really contribute much to science.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, interesting point. But I cannot agree with the point that "entire scientific articles are written that don't really contribute much to science". As Prof. Agnew taught during the class, I did agree with the point of Orwell's view at the same time. The point is for different fields, cases are different.

    For a specific field, the result we conclude will be related with the scope we choose. If we take a macro-scope, we'd find that great success will happen every year. On the contrary, if we take a micro-scope, we can see a lot of pain, struggles , and failures. And chances are that if you throw a coin, it is of greater probility to fall into the black region. But if we conclude from this point, we neglect the fact that science is a field of elites. So the failures of these articles are of minor importance, what matters is the success.