As science and technology increasingly affect our everyday lives, the lay public's need to understand science, and its applications, also increases. To function in today's society—to improve career options, to pursue higher education degrees, to make sound public policy decisions concerning the use and distribution of resources—lay people must grasp basic scientific and mathematical principles. But, according to critics, many scientists and science writers are not effectively communicating their messages. These critics, including best selling science fiction author Michael Crichton, complain that scientific writing often overwhelms readers with poor grammar, vague scientific jargon, cumbersome sentence structure, and unimaginative style. It's no wonder lay people balk at the thought of reading scientific journals or textbooks and, consequently, distance themselves from the subject.