When one imagines a scientist, we typically turn to an image of someone in a white lab coat surrounded by an array of test tubes. Popularized by children’s cartoons of scientists and overused stock footage of a scientist in the lab, public perception of a scientist is often an oversimplified representation and clouded by success stories. Behind these images, however, are a much more complex identity with ups and downs.
By the same token, popular science knowledge is more than it presents itself to be. Concepts are simplified to accommodate the limited scientific vocabulary. This often begs the question of if the science is effectively and appropriately communicated. Conveying science is difficult and can influence public decisions. A recent example of such is the divided opinions about vaccines. This challenge can be further complicated by misconduct in science. Such blunders and misunderstandings can be rapidly amplified. To counteract miscommunication, increased efforts on both ends are being made to improve the gap between science and the public. New technologies and targeted research allow for more initiatives and increased science accessibility and literacy.
In this issue, public perception of science is represented on the cover as a minimalistic illustration of an eye. From afar, it looks like a simple eye. Upon closer inspection, however, one can see the multiple elements that make up the eye, suggesting that things are not as simple as they seem. Behind the shadow are more layers of knowledge unbeknownst to the public eye. As such, this cover invites you to explore what is behind the shadow as there is more than meets the eye.
As important as the words on the pages, the visuals form a great part of the public perception of science. In this issue, our talented team of designers have utilized multiple elements of design to effectively communicate the words of our writers, from the use of illustrations to graphs that scientists are familiar with. As you read through this issue, we hope you can appreciate the power of design in how information is conveyed and received. We would like to thank all of our new and returning designers for their beautiful creations and for their creative contribution in making science more accessible.
– Kitty Liu
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