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Metaphors in Science Communication

Metaphors have played a foundational role in the communication of science; in fact, they have indispensable functions in the theorizing and practice of science. They can be defined, depending on the perspectives of various theorists, as depicting, interpreting, or experiencing one entity, concept, or phenomenon (source X) in terms of another (target Y) via the mapping of relationships between the source (domain X) and target (domain Y). Classic examples of metaphors are “Life is a journey” and “DNA is a code.”

Metaphors are essential for teaching and learning novel, complex, or abstract notions. In science, metaphors are described as serving in three capacities: explanatory, constitutive, and communicative. When employed in scientific communication, metaphors are posited to be of two types that serve two distinct functions, explanatory ...

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