Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

La scrittura dei fisici

Articoli su riviste scientifiche

This paper contributes to studies on the social use of written communication by analysing the relationship of physicists with writing. It addresses issues with particular regard to the debate on whether or not the language used by scientists is comparable to literary language. The basic idea is that in literary writing images are always only comments on the text, an interstitial part of the message. Instead, when the text becomes a commentary on the images (captions, comics), writing loses its literary character. Physicists make ample use of images (photographs, tables, graphs) in their publications and presentations to conferences. A brief analysis of empirical materials shows that physicists usually employ verbal language to support acoustically or mentally a discourse which in itself is intrinsically iconic. They are subject to the ambiguity having to rely on writing to state and solidify their knowledge claims while at the same time being unable to use a literary style but only one interstitial to iconic instruments of communication.

Articolo intero

Autore: Volonté, P.

Collana: Studi di Sociologia

Anno: 2008