John Durant

John Durant is director of the MIT Museum.

Ways of Being Dead

John Durant, 21 January 1988

Our culture pays a high price for scientific specialisation. As individual researchers have come to know more and more about less and less, so they have increasingly distanced themselves – from one another, from interested amateurs and from the general public. This distancing has created a demand for yet more specialists – professional popularisers such as science journalists, science writers, television producers and presenters, and so forth – whose task it is to mediate between scientists and everybody else. What these mediators offer is, for the most part, second or even thirdhand reporting; and all too often this either sensationalises or (which is much worse) sanitises the work it purports to describe.

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