Monday, 19 May 2008 breaking the stereotype

In the previous post I briefly mentioned "the culture of science in fiction and fact". Edited by edited by scientist and science writer Dr. Jennifer Rohn, it's "dedicated to real laboratory culture and to the portrayal and perceptions of that culture – science, scientists and labs – in fiction, the media and across popular culture. The site is intended for non-scientists as well as scientists, and the goal is to inform, entertain and surprise".

It's an interesting mix. Some of it is polemical and actively targeting the stereotypes, as in What is Lab Lit (the genre)? ("Boffins are so last century - let's see some real scientists for a change"). But as the launch editorial explains, its scope includes essays, reviews, fiction and poetry - anything about the culture of real science, whether realistic science in fiction, analysis of unrealistic science in fiction, or and science fiction.

There's plenty here for literature enthusiasts: a quick look in the archives finds Science at sea, looking at Stephen Maturin in the novels of Patrick O'Brian; a very nice three-episode feature, Flights of Fancy, arguing how early novelists set the scene for space exploration; A culture of curiosity, concerning George Eliot, little known to be a keen botanist; and Thomas Hardy, Richard Proctor and the dialogue of the deaf, how two 19th century writers exemplified a cultural split that still persists.

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