### Session B4: How to Communicate Physics to the General Public Using Books and Articles

10:45 AM–12:33 PM, Saturday, April 12, 2008
Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront (formerly Adam's Mark Hotel), Room: Promenade B

Chair: Andrew Post-Zwicker, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Abstract ID: BAPS.2008.APR.B4.1

### Abstract: B4.00001 : Writing about, and teaching, physics for non-scientists

10:45 AM–11:21 AM

MathJax On | Off   Abstract

#### Author:

Art Hobson
(University of Arkansas)

Physicists must communicate their knowledge to the general public because, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science puts it, without a scientifically literate population, the outlook for a better world is not promising.'' I'll discuss what I've learned about writing for non-scientists from my physics textbook for non-science college students, Physics: Concepts and Connections, now in its fourth edition and in use on 130 campuses, and also from my bi-weekly hometown newspaper column. Lessons learned include the process of organizing and writing a textbook, tips for writing effective prose, dos and don'ts when writing for non-scientists, choice of subject matter, being relevant to the needs of non-scientists, and unifying one's book through the use of such general themes as the scientific process,'' or energy.'' For real-world relevance, I suggest emphasizing physics-related social topics, and modern and contemporary physics. I highly recommend Michael Alley's book The Craft of Scientific Writing, as well as Strunk and White's timeless Elements of Style.

To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2008.APR.B4.1