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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 2017 > Article Detail

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Confidence in Science

To The Editors:

The juxtaposition of two columns—“Ending the Crisis of Complacency in Science” and “The Hand-in-Hand Spread of Mistrust and Misinformation in Flint” (Science Communication and Perspective, respectively, January–February)—with an article in the same issue, “Photoshopping the Universe,” brought a thought to mind: Much misunderstanding of science appears to occur because some members of the public do not appear to understand how scientists carry out data analysis. The third article on space imaging brings this point home: The general public does not see the process by which a figure is produced. The “photoshopped” images in this article are a case in point: Might not the general public have more confidence in science if scientific articles displayed not only the final results but also a simplified description of how the results came to be? For this article, perhaps a series of images showing how the “false color” images were derived from the original data sets would make the information more meaningful. For the graphs showing global warming, perhaps other visuals that show how the data from many sources were incorporated might be helpful.

Robert W. Zoellner
Department of Chemistry
Humboldt State University
Arcata, California


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