The Craft of Scientific Writing

The Craft Of Scientific Writing

by Michael Alley
3.71 of 5 Votes: 4
282 Pages
Springer Science & Business Media , 18.04.2013
Springer Science & Business Media
We are all apprentices 01 a craft where no one ever becomes a master. -Emest Hemingway In October 1984, the weak writing in a scientific report made national news. The report, which outlined safety procedures during a nuclear attack, advised industrial workers "to don heavy clothes and immerse themselves in a large body of water. " The logic behind this advice was sound: Water is a good absorber of heat, neutrons, and gamma rays. Unfortunately, the way the advice was worded was unclear. Was everyone supposed to be com up for air? Be pletely submerged? Was it safe to come sides being unclear, the writing conveyed the wrong im pression to the public. The report came across as saying "go jump in a lake"-not the impression you want to give someone spending thousands of dollars to fund your re search. Chances are that Dan Rather will not quote sentences from your documents on national television, no matter how weak the writing iso Still, your writing is important. On a personal level, your writing is the principal way in which people learn about your work. When you commu nicate weIl, you receive credit for that work. When you do not communicate weIl or are too slow to communi cate, the credit often go es to someone else. On a larger level, your writing and the writing of other scientists and vii viii Foreword engineers influenees publie poliey about scienee and en gineering.