Published 28 January 2009

Price of popularity

From Wayne Martindale, Food Innovation, Sheffield Hallam University, and Martin L Warnes, Manchester Grammar School

Michael Brooks (20/27 December 2008, p 16) and Richard Hammond (3 January, p 14) each ask a question that has occupied the scientific community in the UK for a long time: how can we effectively popularise science and reduce the reported decline of interest in science subjects at school?

We must not, however, forget science in the enthusiasm for communicating it. Science is an evidence-based practice: it depends on flexible individuals who can generalise and specialise when and as required.

Intense specialism can kill mass appeal. But history shows us science specialists with complex personalities who can make today’s celebrities …

Sheffield, UKManchester, UK