As a kid, I was a popular-science junkie. Back in the 1980s, I was able to feed my habit with a steady stream of paperback books, a few glossy magazines, and the occasional special on public television. Today's offerings run the gamut from polished shows on radio and television and full-scale documentary films to snarky blogs, playful online videos, live events in pubs and theaters, and "citizen science" projects that connect volunteers with ongoing research projects.
More than just the medium has changed; the message has, too. Many prominent efforts to engage non-specialists these days are crafted as personal narratives. A new generation of science communicators has adopted classic techniques of storytelling, with an emphasis upon scientists' subjective experien...
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