Science Communication Redux: Returning to the Collision Point

  • Kristine Larsen
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


In our previous discussion of scientific terminology salad in Chapter  4 we used an example from Gregory Benford’s Timescape in which “cranks seemed to think constructing a new theory involved only the invention of new terms” [1]. The term crank is slang for someone with strange ideas or behaviors. A common synonym is crackpot, and both terms are casually tossed around by scientists when discussing individuals (usually nonscientists) who claim to have either disproven various laws of physics (most often related to the work of Einstein) or have original ideas that not only violate accepted science but appear to not have any consistent scientific or mathematical basis. As I noted in that chapter, such derogatory terms are counterproductive when debunking misconceptions, as they feed into the very backfire effects we must seek to avoid.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristine Larsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological Sciences DepartmentCentral Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainUSA

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