The understanding of science and its application is important for solving various socio-economic problems faced at the global level.
It is a common notion among general public that scientific facts are difficult to understand if not mastered properly. Conventionally, layman considered science as a specialized field which needed immense efforts to understand the facts. The understanding of science and its application is important for solving various socio-economic problems faced at the global level. It is pertinent to mention that some scientific aspects/fields are so complex or intricate that even scientists face difficulty to understand them. Therefore, it is essential to interpret natural scientific facts in a lucid and understandable manner. For example, theory of relativity or theory of black holes need deep understanding before common man can understand them. In order to avoid misconceptions and misunderstanding of scientific facts among general public, there is need of propagating science in a simple and better way. Popular science (pop-science of popsci) provides a bridge between the professional medium of scientific literature and the general public for understanding various scientific facts. Popular science is generally expressed or presented in the form of books, magazines, web pages, books and short films. Social media has further enhanced the popularization of science among masses and has increased curiosity among the public to take interest in science. The importance of pop-science has increased in recent years as science has become an integral aspect of human society and there is need to understand various aspects of science to make it more popular.
Today’s science is different than what it was few hundred years ago. For a long time, professionals who investigated nature worked in an environment which remained aloof from the general audience, and only way for the dissemination of scientific findings relied on science writers and journalists. However, there was deep communication gap between public and scientific world as there was no simple means to propagate scientific theories and inventions among the masses. Later in the 19th and 20th century, interest aroused among scientists to garner support for their discoveries and investigations by writing pieces for general public. The initial initiative for popularization of science was through the publication popular science books that immediately caught the attention of a common educated layperson. In our era, Science has reached to our doorsteps and common man is discussing day-to-day scientific achievements and its relevance for common good of humanity. However, it is important for the scientists and professionals to acquaint general public about the current discoveries and inventions in a simple language so that they understand the applicability of science. Science is a beautiful enterprise that needs to be expressed in a simple way for the benefit of humanity.
As is also rightly said by great Scientist, Stephen Hawkins,
‘Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanation of phenomenon or connections between different observations’
The significance of pop-science has increased in recent years as Science and Technology has been the top agenda for nations to solve some of the major problems. In order to develop skilled human resource in developing and underdeveloped countries at the grass root level, it is important to impart the knowledge of applied science. The pop-science can serve as a vehicle to inculcate scientific temper and passion among youths to take interest in science.
As science is dominating every sphere of life, scientists are showing great interest to popularize science at the grass root level. There has been calls from various scholars to develop a system by which scientific knowledge is disseminated to the passive audience in which there is continuous interaction between public and scientific community. The aim is to remove any communication gap that hinders the interaction between scientists and the community. In recent years, professional scientists are focusing on both research (carried out in labs) and popularization of their innovative concepts so that general public is well versed with the latest scientific innovations that are of practical importance.
International efforts are also in full swing to aware and popularize the science and its benefits to the global citizen. From its inception, UNESCO has made great efforts to popularize science. For example, every year ‘World Science Day for Peace and Development’ is being celebrated on 10th November to popularize science and its achievements. In order to inform public about the global issues and their scientific solution, International Years have been celebrated from past two decades to sensitize public about the key issues, such as biodiversity, environmental pollution, climate change etc.
Modern communication system can play vital role for the propagation of popular science due to easy and quick accessibility to the general public. The social networking sites are best platform for the popularization of science as our youth is addicted towards latest information system. Although, psychologists show great concern about the excessive use of social sites among youngsters, the use of these sites for the propagation of science can have positive impact on the society. There are some netizens who are already engaged in such efforts and people need to aware about such endeavors which can be useful for understanding of common science. After remaining in touch with various web sources in recent years, I found BBC Facebook page is important and authentic vehicle for the popularization of science. In the same way there are other online facebook pages like Hashem Al-Ghaili’s FaceBook watch page, Sciencedaily.com, facebook.com/Biology and many others, which are making great contribution for the general awareness of science. In addition, Ted Global also contributes towards science through Ted talks from the eminent scientist which are meant to propagate true message of science.
There is need to highlight the importance of pop-science in schools, colleges and universities. Apart from general curriculum, students should be taught common and applicable science though various means. The passion for pop-science among students will help in increasing the trend of students taking up science subjects at UG and PG level. For achieving this goal, there is need to initiate debates, seminars and conferences in schools and colleges to highlight the importance of common science in our daily lives. Although, efforts have been made in recent past by the concerned authority in this regard, there is much more to be done in this regard to make science more popular and attractive.
In conclusion, there is great need to popularize science among masses so that real benefits reach to the society. Science should not considered just another subject or specialized field, but we should treat it as a remedy for our problems. In order to get maximum benefits from science, people should be made aware about the recent inventions and discoveries in a common way. Pop-science is the best way to implement the real science for the benefit of society.
Author is SERB-DST Fast Track Fellow, Department of Zoology, CUK, Sonwar Campus,