Session B4: How to Communicate Physics to the General Public Using Books and Articles

(co-sponsored by the Forum on Physics and Society and the Forum on Education)

Art Hobson, University of Arkansas

Writing about, and teaching, physics for non-scientists

Physicists must communicate their knowledge to the general public because, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science puts it, "without a scientifically literate population, the outlook for a better world is not promising." This talk, by Art Hobson of the University of Arkansas, presented tips about writing for non-scientists, based on his physics textbook for non-science college students, Physics: Concepts and Connections, now in its fourth edition and in use on 130 campuses, and also on his bi-weekly hometown newspaper column.  Lessons learned include the process of organizing and writing a textbook, tips for writing effective prose, dos and don'ts when writing for non-scientists, choice of subject matter, being relevant to the needs of non-scientists, and unifying one's book through the use of such general themes as "the scientific process," or "energy."