The Man Who Invented Popular Science Used A 17th-Century Version Of Clickbait




By Harriet Phillips in The Conversation.


We are living in a golden age of popular science. Multiple television and radio programmes, best-selling books, well-attended science festivals around the world – all reveal the apparently limitless public appetite for learning about science.

Prominent scientists like Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker write best-sellers explaining the secrets of evolutionary biology and psychology to the public, while the life of the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been the subject of a multiple-award-winning biopic. There is even supposedly a “Brian Cox effect”. The books and media appearances of the pop keyboardist-turned-particle physicist, Professor Cox, are credited with a 20% rise in students taking A-level physics since 2008, and even more astonishingly, a massive 52% increase in applications to study physics at university in the same period.


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