Journalists Should Not Ask Scientists About the History Of Science
I sent an email on March 6, 2008 to Timothy Folger. He has not replied, perhaps because of the typo. The text is below.
I just read your Discover article "Patently Absurd" and enjoyed it
very much, just like enjoy everything you write.
I have a serious question for you regarding science journalism. Every
time I see an article about the history of physics, I see results of
interviews with physicists, rather than historians of physics. This
seems curious to me. Physicists are experts on how the fundamentals of
the universe work, but if you want information about how the history
of physics played out, wouldn't a historian who specializes in the
subject be a more appropriate source? You are not even required to
know the history of physics to get a Ph.D. in physics, I don't
believe, so how are they experts on the history? It seems to me a bit
like asking a modern day general in the army questions about the
details of the war of 1812.
Institute of Cognitive Science