Rhetoric is the art of communicating with an audience. This communication can take the form of any medium and it to serve the purpose of informing an audience or to persuade them. You need to target your audience however; the scientific community uses a different language convention than a generic audience. If you use scientific terminology with a generic audience, they will not be able to comprehend what it is that you’re trying to discuss. The opposite problem exists if you use a generic language for discussions to a scientific audience. It takes additional time to explain concepts using a generic language and scientists may perceive such discussion as if the writer is talking down to them.
My personal statement for engineering graduate schools needed to convey my interest in engineering projects as my personal hobby. I told the story of one of my projects that I had worked on a few years back. The initial concept had failed massively, but it eventually helped me create an application much more significant.
In my technical explanation, I explained using both a written form and as a visual presentation a paper written by MIT. Researchers there discovered a way to use ultra-high speed video cameras to record 3D models of images. My paper and presentation discussed the simplest case where light was used as a ruler by measuring the time between a flash and when the photon is recorded. Then we discussed the iteration, each time accounting for a new problem seen by the researchers until they achieved a camera that could record models of objects reflected off a white wall. My goal was to teach my audience about the scientific process involved in the work. I found that I was unable to produce diagrams of sufficient quality to adequately explain the work and animation tools would have greatly improved the format.
My second presentation was targeted to a professional audience of engineers. The goal is to convince this audience that thermomagnetic convection may provide a viable cooling mechanism for their components. I briefly the problems that their industry was encountering that I would attempt to resolve and the basic physical principles that this mechanism uses.