Brahmi inscription from 2nd century BCE. Karla caves, Maharashtra, India.
Vague forms of speech have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard words mistaken for deep learning, that it will not be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that they are but a hindrance to true knowledge.
- John Locke, ca. 1690
More than three centuries have passed since one of the esteemed members of the Royal Society made this statement. And yet, never have these words rung truer than in the present day.
Mankind has surged ahead in the pursuit of knowledge and we are now technologically advanced to a point that the contemporaries of John Locke couldn't possibly have imagined. Today, we live in an age in which the huge compendium of knowledge gathered over centuries is available to us in a blink of the eye, at the touch of a key on our mobile phones. And yet, the very issues that had hampered scientific inquiry and progress in John Locke's time, the very doubts and dogmas which obstructed reason and logic then, still continue to plague us. Where indeed does this discord stem from, if not from inarticulate and unclear communication of science, which continues to propagate misunderstanding, distrust, and fear. For it is the lack of effective communication that truly hinders knowledge.
Irrespective of its progress and advancement, each era is fraught with serious challenges, and ours is no different. Presently, we are faced with global issues of grave proportions – disease epidemics, a burgeoning population, depletion of resources, climate change – to name a few. Now, more than ever, is the time to harness the power of science in order to successfully tackle these issues. And we must begin by communicating science, effectively. It is only by doing so that we will have sound governmental policies, focussed innovation in the science and tech industry, and a general populace making educated choices in their lives.
The main goal behind Describe is to play a dedicated, even if a minor role in propagating science. In a manner that is understandable to the reader. In a language that isn't vague, or replete with hard words. In a way that doesn't hinder true knowledge.