Letter: Science giants do a good job: we're hooked and keen to learn

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The Independent Online
Colin Tudge may be right to point out the danger of having a group of a few powerful science gurus dominating the interface between science and the public ("The science cabal", 5 January). However these media giants have already succeeded in the important part of their task: people are fascinated by the big science plots, though they don't follow the details of the stories.

The task now is to consolidate the conquest by turning to small science - not the factual little quiz questions that he cites but those that start with "Why?": "Why is the sky blue?", and "Why are soap-bubbles round?". Such questions are both trivial and profound: the ability to reason them out for oneself stocks the mind and feeds the soul.

We need media folk who can weave such homespun bits of basic scientific storytelling into the public consciousness. Practice builds confidence, and eventually all the copies of Hawking's books that are sold will actually be read.

J Haigh

Sheffield Hallam University

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