We need new models of popular physics communication

Ashutosh Jogalekar in The Curious Wavefunction:

ScreenHunter_1131 Apr. 12 19.03One of the issues I have with Steven Weinberg's list of 13 science books is that they showcase a very specific model of science writing – that of straight explanation and historical exposition. Isaac Asimov was very good at this model, so was George Gamow. Good science writing is of course supposed to be explanatory, but I think we have entered an age where other and more diverse forms of science writing have made a striking appearance. Straight, explanatory science will persist, but in my opinion the future belongs to these novel forms since they bring out the full range of the beauty and pitfalls of science as a quintessentially human endeavor. And since writing is only one form of inquiry, we also need to embrace other novel forms of communication such as poetry and drama.

Why do we need other models of science communication? The problem is best exemplified by popular physics and that is what I will be writing about here. As I have written earlier, one of the issues with today's popular physics writing is that it has sort of plateaued and reached a point of diminishing marginal returns: there are only so many ways in which you can write about relativity or quantum mechanics in a novel way. There are literally hundreds of books on these topics, and yet another volume that clearly explains the mysteries of quantum mechanics to the layman would not be especially enlightening.

Thus, among the most recent science books that buck this trend is one I have truly savored – Amanda Gefter's “Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn“. The book breaks new ground by not just recycling cutting-edge facts about the universe but by presenting these facts engagingly in the form of a very charming memoir about a daughter and a father (disclaimer: although I know Amanda in real life I had been entranced by the book before I met her).

More here.