MY SCIENCE BOOK IS BEST:
Future Science” is a collection of just such essays, written from experts in a variety of fields for a general audience. I must admit, when I first opened the book, I jumped straight to William McEwan’s essay entitled “Molecular Cut and Paste: The New Generation of Biological Tools.” I was hoping to learn about some exciting new advances in genetic engineering but was a little disappointed to see mostly descriptions of techniques, like lentiviral construction, that I myself have used. However, it occurred to me that most of my non-science friends and family might find it shocking that researchers were using viruses to manipulate genes and, indeed, as vehicles for combating other viruses. And, really, this gets to the heart of the book. Most of what we do in our daily routine is potentially mind-blowing to the general public. All we need to do is communicate it in a way that doesn’t cause their eyes to glaze over.With this in mind, I decided to jump back to the beginning of the book to the essay entitled, “On the Coming Age of Ocean Exploration” by Kevin P. Hand, which is actually a description of plans to explore the icy ocean moons of Jupiter. Although light years (excuse the pun) from my specialty, Dr. Hand’s expertly crafted narrative brought me into the conversation about the goals and justifications for space exploration. I finished the essay not just excited by his research but firmly believing it is essential. This is exactly the same feeling I hope to impart when I explain my own research, especially in a grant application.