David Kramer’s Issues and Events item (Physics Today, July 2012, page 23) contains timely and important advice. It is far too easy for scientists to lay the blame for the public’s overall discomfort with science on the early education system, the media, or political leaders. But in doing so, we miss an important component—that we, as scientists, have a responsibility to share our knowledge, not only with each other but with the general public. Communication must be a two-way street; scientists must work harder to improve and increase the dialog with nonscientists. As Kramer’s article points out, scientists have an excellent vantage point from which to begin this process; the scientific community does hold a position of trust within the minds of the US public.

Although not all scientists have the interest or inclination to be the next scientific TV personality, smaller efforts can make positive changes. One such effort is a new project, Why-Sci (http://www.Why-Sci.com), funded by an American Physical Society Public Outreach Grant. Why-Sci is a website and forum that presents a rotating and expanding collection of snippets written by scientists for nonscientists. The site’s offerings are short, straightforward, multipurpose descriptions of the what, how, and why of a research project accompanied by a single image. The snippets give the scientist experience in describing and communicating research to a nonscientific audience. For the nonscientist, they are an approachable introduction to a research project and its potential applications, and they offer an opportunity to connect with a real scientist.

During this time of difficult research funding—and defunding—choices, we scientists must step up to the plate and explain why what we do is fascinating, inspiring, and important, not just to us, but to society as a whole.