From Bugs ‘n’ Gas Gal’s Lair:
…the paper in Neuron discussed how transgenic mice that stopped producing prion protein several weeks after being infected with abnormal (infectious) prions had a significant level of their normal behavior restored. The work indicates there’s reason to hope that someday we may have a cure for vCJD. However, the transgenic mice stopped producing the protein while their brains were still growing, so it remains to be seen what kind of benefit might be seen in adults. The technical audience will enjoy the writeup from the Neurophilosopher’s Blog. For the lite version, there’s New Scientist or Nature News.
Bugs ‘n’ Gas Gal isn’t saying that my blog is too technical. She’s saying that it’s more technical than Nature and New Scientist. Or that the specific post she refers to is more technical than the related articles in those publications.
I do occasionally write quite technical posts, and I like the fact that this blog is considered quite specialist, and that I have at least some expertise in its subject matter. But I often try to write posts that I think are easily accessible to people without a scientific background. I do this because I don’t know who the majority of my readers actually are. And whether or not you find this blog too technical depends, of course, on who you are.
Some of my readers may know that I worked for a short time as a science teacher in a secondary school in Croydon, south London. One of the difficulties of being a teacher is knowing the level at which to “pitch” a lesson. The age of the students is usually a good indicator of academic ability (I taught 11-16 year-olds). But within a class, there will always be a range of abilities, with some students being brighter than others. Hence, there is a need to “differentiate”; in other words, to ensure that the brighter students don’t get bored and that the less able ones don’t get left behind.
I don’t know what proportion of my readers have a scientific background. I’m sure that my readership consists partly of academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students (not necessarily in scientific disciplines) and other science bloggers. but what about the others? By varying the level of technicality in my posts, I am differentiating for my readers.
Comments, suggestions and clarification of academic credentials are welcomed.