Lecture | February 6 | 2-3 p.m. | Calvin Laboratory (Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing), Calvin Lab auditorium
Konstantin Kakaes, The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing
Science is complicated. So too are mathematics and engineering. (This talk will speak of these subjects as science, despite the imprecision in doing so, without loss of generality.) Most people do not understand most thingseven scientists working in any given discipline often understand little about the work of their colleagues across campus.
Some popular writing by scientists is exceptional. But, with some frequency, such writing is what William Zinsser said of Richard Feynman: An A-plus mind expressing itself in C-minus sentences. Zinsser found Feynmans writing impossible to bear: In talking down to me, Zinsser wrote, he degrades not only me but himself.
This talk will sketch some of the features that distinguish terrific popular scientific discourse from the terrible, with particular attention to how scientists themselves speak and write about their fields of expertise, and will try to convince you why that difference matters.
Light refreshments will be served after the lecture, at 3:00 p.m.