While it’s not one of my main goals in life, I’m all in favor of the idea of popularizing science and making it as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. But sometimes I do wonder about the kind of things scientists get involved with when they try and do this. Just this morning I ran into these stories about science that make me ask myself:
Is it a good idea for physicists to appear on a radio show discussing what happened before the big bang, or does the lack of any evidence about this or of a convincing model mean that this is just inherently too speculative a topic to be sold as serious science to a wide audience? Should one perhaps leave this topic to the Bogdanovs?
Is it a good idea for physicists to promote to the public their work on time travel? Or might this also give the public some misleading ideas about science? (via i postdoc, therefore I am, but there seems to be a whole genre of “time travel” books written by theoretical physicists).
Is it a good idea for physicists to appear on a TV show explaining the forces involved in crushing beer cans, as part of a segment on whether women can crush beer cans with their breasts? Especially physicist bloggers known for attacking other physicist bloggers for their sexism and media-inflated nonsense? (via here and here)