It seems that Brother Guy Consolmagno has started a bit of blogging at Tor.com, the sci-fi publisher’s website. Here he asks whether reporters get their science news right:
“But a third problem is in the nature of news reporting itself. News must be significant, but it must also be… well… new. And usually scientific advances are not recognized in a fashion that fits a typical reporter’s deadline. Thus easy-to-identify moments, like a press conference, are the hook for stories whose origins may actually have arisen years earlier. After all, Einstein’s General Relativity was actually published three years before this announcement, in 1916. And indeed, it has been argued that Eddington’s confirmation was premature — the error in his data were so large that by themselves they did not actually confirm Relativity.
But in fact the biggest problem of science reporting is not with the reporters, but with the scientists themselves. Big Science requires Big Bucks (“No Bucks — No Buck Rogers” as Tom Wolfe quotes Gus Grissom saying, in The Right Stuff). Science requires public support, which in turn means public awareness. The Hubble Space Telescope is famous not only for its good science but also because it’s got a first-rate publicity department.”
Just a word of warning about poking around at Tor.com — it’s a good site for sci-fi resources, but not exactly a site that exemplifies Catholic taste and judgment. Use with discretion. It is good, however, to see a Catholic, Vatican-employed Jesuit gaining positive notice in the wild-west world of science and science-fiction.