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Why are scientists so boring?

Whenever there is an expert interviewed in the media, they present their views in a very dry manner. One can start to think: How on earth could anyone, even the researchers themselves, find that interesting?


The answer is that they learned to communicate with other experts, which is a very critical audience.


It starts in school and higher education, where the not-yet-experts struggle to write essays and other assignments. These writings are always criticized by the examiner to grade them.


Later, when the soon-to-be-experts first start to do their research, their writings are peer-reviewed, where strangers nitpick their errors. After enough painful criticism, you learn to express your thoughts with factually correct, technical language.


It is this requirement to be factually correct without ambiguity that makes scientists so boring.


But why are these things necessary to begin with? The answer to this is simple: scientists build knowledge so that others can use it.


This knowledge is like the foundation of a building. If it is shoddy or incomplete, everything built on it might collapse.


The more correct and unambiguous the base knowledge is, the stronger the foundation is for building more knowledge upon it.


So, if every scientist works diligently, the layers of knowledge eventually grow into rock-solid mountains from which we can see afar. And the scientists themselves know that this makes their communication very dry, but they don’t mind since they care more about the topic than the form.


However, eventually, most experts must communicate their topic to non-experts, as they must explain what they do and why they should be paid to do that. And these experts should learn as soon as possible that this audience demands a very different kind of communication.


Here you can afford to be slightly wrong to clearly express the crux of a topic. Here, the media experts can help the topic experts.


Andrei Ahonen

DSII Doctoral Student




Photos: Canva, Unsplash