My mother, in her advanced age, used to justify some unhealthy habits of food and drink by remarking (only half-jokingly), “If we wait long enough, the scientists will disprove themselves, and our vices will be virtues.” In this simple remark, she was reflecting the quandary of her era: respect and enthusiasm, tinged with some skepticism, about the breathtaking pace of scientific achievements.
We still hold our scientists in high regard for their intelligence, curiosity, and determination. But we demand better communication. After all, we may never hope to fully comprehend the science of crippling diseases or the Higgs boson, but we know that fear arises when open communication with our scientists is lost and trust is broken. Science centers and museums help communicate the relevance of science and the excitement of discovery.