I think it is every scientists nightmare to be asked, in 500 words or less, to describe fundamental biochemical theorem, background information and results of a project in a way that is both interesting and accessible to the great general public ( ie those of you who don’t use the word aliquot to describe a small pot of jam, and don’t ‘titrate’ milk into your tea).
The boss and I sat down and thrashed out something acceptable last night, though we were both on the edge of ‘energetic crisis’….the energy barrier to complete the text was pretty high, and the driving force low but we knew it would just keep haunting us unless we continued.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great telling a wider audience about research, and it’s flattering that someone found our niche interesting enough to even want this short text to present, but my god it’s hard work. Converting years of work into a summary line, theorem into analogies. You end up kind of screwing your nose up and cringing as you type this stuff…knowing that it’s probably what’s needed, but it just tastes bad having to write it in plain English and not our own scientific jargon.
Sadly by asking my family to proofread, I discovered that one member who shall remain nameless, may need supplementary coaching on the conceptual difference between a battery and a magnet, but that’s OK, in real life they are usually labelled and I haven’t found any magnets in the TV remote yet.
Hopefully the text will be a resounding success and we have done our public engagement duty for a while 😉