It's summer and Seed's running a few classic articles online. This weekend, read about "So"...

The language of science, with its specialized vocabulary and clipped rhythm, has a distinctive architecture.

The functional elegance of this rarefied speak is uniquely captured in one of its most inconspicuous words: "so." This isn't "so" the intensifier ("so expensive"); it's not the "so" that joins two clauses. This is the "so" that introduces a sentence, as in "So as we can see, modified Newtonian dynamics cannot account for the rotation of any of the three observed galaxies."

This "so" is key to a basic unit of scientific talk: the explanation.


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Friday I gave out a survey in the course I'm teaching this quarter asking for feedback. Among the many helpful responses, was one, which pointed out that I say "so" a lot. Now, I know that when I write I use "now" a lot, but I really hadn't noticed how much I say "so." In class today I realized…
How many people do you know who have found a misspelled word in the New York Times -- that wasn't in a letter to the editor?? Well, now you can add me to that illustrious list! I found this word -- misspelled as "hautily"! -- in A Free-for-All on Science and Religion, by George Johnson in the New…
On Tomorrow's Table, Pamela Ronald shares a breakthrough in the study of bacterial communication. Although bacteria have been known to use a limited chemical vocabulary, for the first time they have been observed to use a protein as a signalling mechanism. Ronald writes, "Ax21 is a small protein…
Seed: "So" A look at the most common verbal tic of scientists. (tags: science language academia education)

I'm confused: Most Seed Media Group bloggers complain of a lack of important communication from SciBlogs -- you, that is. Ardvarachaeology notes you've sent him four e-mails in the last couple of weeks, but none apparently dealing with communication to bloggers.

If you've decided to make all your bloggers free agents, would you let us know? We may be able to cut deals before the court orders an auction.

At a minimum, could you pick up the phone and give P. Z. Myers a call?

Hey cowpoke.

Are you even going to react to your #1 property joining the picket line?

I understand silent indifference to the loss of the cat lady demographic but if you lose the 18-25 year old white male social misfits you just lost the internet.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 20 Jul 2010 #permalink