A good read: Why Communicate Science? People Need What Scientists Have; Scientists Need People to Have it... http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201210/backpage.cfm
"By “communicate science,” I mean professional scientists explaining
something about science to non-scientists. My question is, “Why?” But
many scientists are still debating whether we should; many see why they
should not. Communicating science takes time away from research,
from teaching, from being home; from something else we need to be doing.
The time is not adequately compensated. Doing interviews with
reporters, or visiting legislators, has no assigned “impact factor” that
boosts vitae-value. Appearing on the radio or TV or in the news, giving
talks to civic groups, writing op-eds or articles geared to “popular”
audiences, or even a translational book for the general public; all
count little, sometimes nothing, towards tenure. Sometimes they actually
hurt. Communicating science can be seen as unprofessional. Peers may
think less of you. It may seem absurd that many scientists would think
it unprofessional to explain science, but that thinking is a fact in
academia. And anyway, communicating is the job of communicators such as
professional science writers. All the above reasons not to
communicate science are valid. Next question: Are those reasons
sufficient? Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein apparently didn’t think
so. Granted, we’re not them. We all juggle priorities and make
compromises on how we can and must spend our time. But it’s my
conviction that scientists should elevate communicating science as
something important and worthwhile. That brings us to “Why.” Some
scientists believe we should communicate because public support is
crucial for continued public funding. That’s circular and self-serving.
In the long run, it’s likely self-defeating. Simply explaining that the
space program resulted in such marvels as Tang and Teflon–two oft-cited
benefits of science that, in fact, everyone can live without–doesn’t
adequately elevate the power of science above everything else vying for
public money, such as military spending, bank-bailouts, infrastructure,
etc., etc. I believe it’s important for people to get to know
scientists as people, as members of civil society in their communities.
And I believe the message is not one of facts, nor reports about the
latest research, but of the overarching and deeply penetrating grandeur
of science: how it uniquely has the power to unlock the secrets of life
and the universe–and how scientific thinking can help people evaluate
claims, think for themselves, and demand proof."
Welcome to the Future of Neutron Scattering in Canada
a grassroots, nonpartisan movement of ordinary Canadians
that emerged in response to the lack of commitment by federal government(s) to build a new research reactor in Canada for nearly 2 decades.