Throughout the last five or six decades, science has become almost an object of cult worship for societies all over the world. By the end of the 20th century, it was of interest mostly for enthusiasts; nowadays, everything is soaked with science, and perhaps only a lazy or an ignorant person would not make attempts to dig into it—at least into one of its superficial layers.
The latter is not an exaggeration: science is behind all kinds of things nowadays, starting with the order in which supermarket products are arranged, election and electoral technologies, new iPhones, methods of raising and educating children, and ending up with research and discoveries in biology, chemistry, physics, and so on. Being able to navigate at least in the shallow waters of science is almost equal to foresight: knowing which trends are topical at the moment, and which course scientific research worldwide takes, it is possible to speculate about what awaits humanity in the not-so-distant future.
In this regard, scientists are the new celebrities. Some of them enjoy the popularity of Kanye West, Beyonce, or Kim Kardashian could only dream about—say, Stephen Hawking, whose books become bestsellers the moment they are published. Michio Kaku, or Kip Thorne, or Carl Sagan, or Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Bill Nye—these, as well as many others do (or did) the most logical thing in the age of space flights, cybernetics, and biomechanical implants: they make science closer to common people, make it comprehensible, even fun.
Being able to make complicated ideas and theories comprehensible is probably one of the most important tasks contemporary scientists face. Of course, a regular person attending a conference on astrophysics would probably understand nothing; however, this same person reading a book by Stephen Hawking or Michio Kaku will understand more about the world he/she lives in, and maybe pass this knowledge on. Who knows, maybe this person will become inspired to become a scientist, thus contributing to humanity’s progress.
Expressing one’s ideas clearly, engaging people that want to know more about the world they live in, making them invest in their own education—this is what popularizers of science do. And this is why it is extremely important for them to be able to write not just well, but masterfully. For example, Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” or “Cosmos” are about astronomy and astrophysics, but reading them is as exciting as following the intricacies of the “Game of Thrones,” or the epic quest of “The Lord of the Rings.”
A scientist able to write well does more than simply pass onto knowledge to others—he/she inspires, makes one open their mouth in awe and delight, showing how beautiful and incredible the Universe we all live in is. The feeling of unity, of belonging to something much greater than just one planet—this is what such a scientist does. And this is why writing skills are so important for a scientist: without them, no one would know about the magnificence of the world only scientists can witness.