Yes. I dare to show equations during public lectures. There’ll be equations in my book too. If we do not show the tools we use, how can we give a complete picture of how science works? If we keep hiding the mathematics, won’t people be even more afraid of this terrifying horror we are “protecting” them from?
I started my Sunday Assembly talk reflecting upon the fact that next year will make 100 years after Einstein published one of the most beautiful and far-reaching scientific works in history, General Relativity, describing how gravity works. In the first 30 seconds of the talk, I put up the equations. Just because they deserve to be seen, and to drive home the point that its not just a bunch of words, but an actual method of computation, that allows you to do quantitative science about the largest physical object we know of – the entire universe!
It was a great audience, who seemed to enjoy the 20 minute talk as part of their Sunday proceedings, mixed up with talk about the community work they do, poetry, songs, and so forth. I was able to update them on some of the latest research in Cosmology, and help unpack our best understanding of how the universe came to be, which is a remarkable story.
(In the slide I’m showing here there’s a montage of equations.. not mean tot be understood, or even read, since they are quite small… they are just communicating the idea that there is a calculation that can be done by an actual person that takes the observed components of the universe and returns a precise number for the age of the universe…)
If you’re a scientist giving a public lecture soon… do consider showing an equation and explaining what it does. The audience will probably be fine with it, and might get a better sense of what science actually is.
*Thanks for the photos aef!