Physics in Perspective

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 342–369 | Cite as

Four Facts Everyone Ought to Know about Science: The Two-Culture Concerns of Philip W. Anderson

  • Andrew Zhang
  • Andrew ZangwillEmail author


Lay people have a large appetite for information about scientific and technological issues that affect them, such as self-driving automobiles, gene manipulation, and climate change. However, this information must be clear and accurate if they are to use it to make informed political decisions. In 1994, the Nobel prize–winning physicist Philip W. Anderson used a newspaper essay to convey his concerns about the fidelity of the communication channels that connect the public to the creators of technical knowledge. He also suggested strategies to improve the quality of that communication. We analyze that essay and other writings by Anderson to identify the origins of his concerns and to place them in the larger context of his scientific philosophy.


scientific communication scientific realism epistemology artificial intelligence religious fundamentalism Bayesian statistics aesthetics in science 



The authors thank Philip Anderson for correspondence and David Joffe for an important remark.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia Institute of TechnologySchool of PhysicsAtlantaUSA

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