A Letter From the Editors at Transcripts
American science is about to enter lean times. While it has always been clear that the current president wouldn’t exactly usher in a golden age of scientific research, the specifics of his policy have since come into sharper focus; reduced funding for science (and more for big tanks and stuff), reneging on pre-established climate change agreements, leaving high level scientific adviser roles unfilled. This clampdown at the highest level suggests that scientific apathy has entered into the mainstream mindset.
How will this affect us here in Canada? While it’s very possible that, in the short term, Canadian science could become galvanized by potential US researchers now preferring to work north of the border, we are also not immune from the scientific apathy that is permeating across the US. A recent survey conducted by the Ontario Science Centre revealed that one fifth of Canadians rely on their intuition rather than published scientific findings, at least when it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms. How can we prevent this from becoming a mainstream sensibility?
One approach would be to communicate better. It’s a general consensus, among scientists and non-scientists alike, that we are not great at communicating our findings to the general populous. Maybe if we were more open about what’s going on behind these closed academic doors, it would become clear that we’re all fighting for the same thing. Maybe then people will learn to trust us on topics that we’ve devoted our lives to studying.
That is the issue we are trying to address with Transcripts. Written by students and faculty in the department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, it’s an attempt to lift the veil off of what we do on a daily basis. To translate not just our findings and results, but also the lived experience of working as an academic scientist to a broader audience. To discuss the issues that affect us, our hopes, and our fears in an effort to make science and the people behind it more relatable. Scientific discourse should be inclusive of everybody, because science belongs to everybody.
Header image by Nikko Torres.