Olga Pilkington

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Phd title: Linguistic Analysis of Popular Science Bestsellers
Supervisor: Professor Susan Hunston
PhD Applied Linguistics


Prior to starting this project, I received a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in English/Literature, Russian, and Chinese from Southern Utah University. I also completed three years of undergraduate linguistics study at the Krasnoyarsk State University, Russia and attended Hei-he Pedagogical University, China.

I currently teach English Composition and History of the English Language at Dixie State University, Utah. 

At the current stage, my research describes how scientific terminology is presented to lay readers. I look at definitions of scientific terminology in select chapters from three popular science texts: The Number Mysteries by Marcus du Sautoy, The Hidden Reality by Brian Green, and Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. I focus on determining what types of definitions popular science authors prefer and the role these definitions play in the reader/writer relationship. As I continue my project, I plan to look at narratives of discovery in popular sceince texts. 

I chose to work with popular science books because they are becoming increasingly popular in the English speaking world, and I am interested to find out why (and how) these books attract readers.