Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The lost art of the letter

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The Internet is affecting not only how scientists communicate, but also how future science historians will have to work.

Until quite recently, letters were the most common way – and often the only way – for scientists to communicate informally with each other. It is not surprising therefore that science historians have long relied on letters as invaluable sources of information.

Now that e-mail has replaced letter writing as the principal means of informal communication, one has to feel sorry for future science historians, who will be unable to use letters and telegrams to establish facts and gauge reactions to events.

Robert P. Crease reports at Physicsweb


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