U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Environmental Quality (2002) 31(3): 1047-1048. DOI:10.2134/jeq2002.1047


Science is moving forward at a dizzying pace and more than 90% of the scientists who ever lived are alive today. The number of abstracts published in Chemical Abstracts was 1 million in the period from 1907 to 1937, the next million was published in the period from 1938 through 1956, and the next million published in 1957 to 1958. These are several facts that the author gives to help the reader understand why we scientists have to improve our ability to communicate science to a nonscientific audience. The purpose of this book is to "cover the essentials of what practicing scientists need to know about, (1) asking, (2) testing, and (3) communicating results about a scientific question.” This book covers all aspects of science from asking questions to presenting the results in both written and oral forms. The last chapter of the book covers perceptions and criticisms of science and presents a summary of why the scientific community is often mistrusted. In many ways this chapter presents the case for why it is important to conduct science in a responsible manner that creates trust among the scientific and nonscientific community. I would urge all readers to start with this chapter because it causes the reader to place the information of Doing Science in context.