Communicating novel and conventional scientific metaphors: A study of the development of the metaphor of the genetic code

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    Abstract

    Metaphors are more popular than ever in the study of scientific reasoning and culture because of their innovative and generative powers. It is assumed, that novel scientific metaphors become more clear and well-defined, as they become more established and conventional within the relevant discourses. But we still need empirical studies of the career of metaphors in scientific discourse and of the communicative strategies identifying a given metaphor as either novel or conventional. This paper presents a case study of the discursive development of the metaphor of "the genetic code" from the introduction of the metaphor to it was established as an entire network of interrelated conventional metaphors. Not only do the strategies in communicating the metaphor change as the metaphor becomes more established within the discourse, but the genres in which the metaphor is developed and interpreted changes too during the career of the metaphor. Whereas the standard scientific article is central in experimentally researching and explaining the metaphor, a mixture of more popular scientific genres dominate in the innovative conceptual development of the metaphor.
    Translated title of the contributionKommunikation af nye og konventionelle videnskabelige metaforer: Et studie af udviklingen af den videnskabelige metafor: den genetiske kode
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPublic Understanding of Science
    Volume14
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)373-392
    Number of pages19
    ISSN0963-6625
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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