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Nicole Ackerman | SLAC | USA

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“Science News Cycle”

PhD Comics were started by a Stanford Student and (humorously) chronicles the graduate experience. I started reading them while an undergraduate at MIT, and now I find them even closer to home as a grad at Stanford.

PhD Comics

PhD Comics

This week the topic strayed a bit from the normal topic of “grad school” but still certainly hit its mark: The Science News Cycle.

The comic certainly brings to mind the news “coverage” of the LHC, and how it mostly focused on one guy thinking the LHC might destroy the world. Even my family – who have spent years listening to me talk about the LHC – kept asking if it was going to destroy the world. I worry that Angels and Demons will have a similar effect. Scientists may give public lectures to clarify the fact and fiction in the movie/book, but the media thrives off scandal and fear.

While some science news coverage can be accurate, insightful, and (most importantly) correct, that sort of coverage usually is confined to science-specific publications. This isn’t always true! My father has continued subscriptions to Discover and Scientific American magazines that I received in high school. He was once telling me about an article describing “what I do” as leading to transporter technology in the next decade or so. I couldn’t imagine how anyone would say that, and thought he was misreading the article. The next time I visited he showed me the article, which said current particle physics research will provide transporter (a la Star Trek) technology very soon. I have no idea how the author had come to that conclusion, because I certainly haven’t seen any transporters in the work.

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