APS News

April 2023 (Volume 32, Number 4)

Letter to the Editor

Acknowledging the Limits of Science

March 16, 2023

The Back Page of the January 2023 APS News [by Michael Smith and Don Lincoln, titled, “To Save Science, Talk With the Public”] is very timely. Engaging with the public is an important responsibility of scientists. It is vital to remember that if we expect the people to respect us, we have to respect the people. We have to present science as science and not as some set of dogma that have to be accepted by the people on the authority of their “betters.” Science is questioning, testing, and searching for truth and reality.

Recently, science has been presented to the public by politicians more often than by scientists. The phrase “settled science,” coined by a politician, is a contradiction in terms. Such well-established theories as quantum mechanics and relativity are constantly being tested for the limits of their applicability. Even the principle of the conservation of matter was questioned in the Steady State Theory. If we are to regain respect and credibility with the people, we have to acknowledge the limits as well as the achievements of science.

– Chester Sullivan (Iowa)

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Taryn MacKinney

April 2023 (Volume 32, Number 4)

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Articles in this Issue
This Summer, Particle Physicists Will Prioritize Projects for the Field’s Future
Controlling a Zombie Outbreak — and Beyond
Get Ready for the APS April Meeting 2023
This Month in Physics History
To Manage Future Risks of Emerging Technologies, Train Physicists in Ethical Decision-Making Now
What the James Webb Space Telescope Can Teach Scientists About Engaging the Public
Opinion: Biological Physics Comes of Age
APS Members Advocate for Science on Capitol Hill
Congress Picks New Leaders for Key Science Committees
Letter to the Editor