New Scientist

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New Scientist
New Scientist.jpg
New Scientist cover, issue 3197 dated 29 September 2018
Editor Emily Wilson
Categories Science
FrequencyWeekly
Total circulation
(2016 H2)
124,623 [1]
Founder Tom Margerison, Max Raison, Nicholas Harrison
First issue22 November 1956(62 years ago) (1956-11-22)
CompanyNew Scientist Ltd.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Language English
Website www.newscientist.com
ISSN 0262-4079

New Scientist, first published on 22 November 1956, is a weekly, English-language magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. New Scientist, based in London, publishes editions in the UK, the United States, and Australia. Since 1996 it has been available online.

Contents

Sold in retail outlets (paper edition) and on subscription (paper and/or online), the magazine covers news, features, reviews and commentary on science, technology and their implications. New Scientist also publishes speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical.

History

The magazine was founded in 1956 by Tom Margerison, Max Raison and Nicholas Harrison [2] as The New Scientist, with Issue 1 on 22 November 1956, priced one shilling (twentieth of a pound, pre-decimalisation in UK; £1.23 today). [3] The British monthly science magazine Science Journal, published 1965–71, was merged with New Scientist to form New Scientist and Science Journal. [4]

Tom Margerison

Thomas Alan Margerison was a British science journalist, author, and broadcaster who founded the magazine New Scientist in 1956. He was a science correspondent for The Sunday Times, which he joined in 1961.

Maxwell Raison was an English cricketer. Raison was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium pace. He was born at Wanstead, Essex and educated at Forest School, Walthamstow.

Shilling (British coin) British pre-decimalisation coin

The shilling (1/-) was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.

Originally, the cover of New Scientist listed articles in plain text. [5] Initially, page numbering followed academic practice with sequential numbering for each quarterly volume. So, for example, the first page of an issue in March could be 649 instead of 1. Later issues numbered issues separately. From the beginning of 1961 "The" was dropped from the title.

From 1965, the front cover was illustrated. [6] Until the 1970s, colour was not used except for on the cover. Since its first issue, New Scientist has written about the applications of science, through its coverage of technology. For example, the first issue included an article "Where next from Calder Hall?" on the future of nuclear power in the UK, a topic that it has covered throughout its history. In 1964 there was a regular "Science in British Industry" section with several items. [7] An article in the magazine's 10th anniversary issues provides anecdotes on the founding of the magazine. [2]

In 1970, the Reed Group, which went on to become Reed Elsevier, acquired New Scientist when it merged with IPC Magazines. Reed retained the magazine when it sold most of its consumer titles in a management buyout to what is now TI Media.

A management buyout (MBO) is a form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a large part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the private owners. Management and leveraged buyouts became phenomena of the 1980s. MBOs originated in the US and traversed the Atlantic, spreading first to the UK and throughout the rest of Europe. The venture capital industry has played a crucial role in the development of buyouts in Europe, especially in smaller deals in the UK, the Netherlands, and France.

TI Media British magazine publisher

TI Media, is a consumer magazine and digital publisher in the United Kingdom, with a portfolio selling over 350 million copies each year. It is owned by a fund affiliated with British private equity firm Epiris.

Throughout most of its history, New Scientist has published cartoons as light relief and comment on the news, with contributions from regulars such as Mike Peyton and David Austin. The Grimbledon Down comic strip, by cartoonist Bill Tidy, appeared from 1970 to 1994. The Ariadne pages in New Scientist commented on the lighter side of science and technology and included contributions from David E. H. Jones, Daedalus. The fictitious inventor devised plausible but impractical and humorous inventions, often developed by the (fictitious) DREADCO corporation. [8] Daedalus later moved to Nature . Issues of (The) New Scientist from Issue 1 to the end of 1989 are free to read online; [9] subsequent issues require a subscription. [10]

Grimbledon Down was a comic strip by British cartoonist Bill Tidy, which ran in New Scientist magazine from 26 March 1970 until 26 March 1994.

William Edward "Bill" Tidy, MBE, is a British cartoonist, writer and television personality, known chiefly for his comic strips. Tidy was appointed MBE in 2000 for "Services to Journalism". He is noted for his charitable work, particularly for the Lord's Taverners, which he has supported for over 30 years. Deeply proud of his working-class roots in the North of England, his most abiding cartoon strips, such as the Cloggies and the Fosdyke Saga, have been set in an exaggerated version of that environment. He now lives in Boylestone, Derbyshire.

David E. H. Jones British chemist; columnist

David Edward Hugh Jones was a British chemist and author, under the pen name Daedalus, the fictional inventor for DREADCO. Jones' columns as Daedalus were published for 38 years, starting weekly in 1964 in New Scientist. He then moved on to the journal Nature, and continued to publish until 2002. He published two books with columns from these magazines, along with additional comments and implementation sketches. The first was The Inventions of Daedalus: A Compendium of Plausible Schemes (1982) and the second was The Further Inventions of Daedalus (1999).

In the first half of 2013, the international circulation of New Scientist averaged 125,172. While this was a 4.3% reduction on the previous year's figure, it was a much smaller reduction in circulation than many mainstream magazines of similar or greater circulation. [11] For the 2014 UK circulation fell by 3.2% but stronger international sales, increased the circulation to 129,585. [12] See also #Website below.

In April 2017, New Scientist changed hands when RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, sold the magazine to Kingston Acquisitions, a group set up by Sir Bernard Gray, Louise Rogers and Matthew O’Sullivan to acquire New Scientist. [13] [14] Kingston Acquisitions then renamed itself New Scientist Ltd.

Modern format

In the 21st century until May 2019 New Scientist contained the following sections: Leader, News (Upfront), Technology, Opinion (interviews, point-of-view articles and letters), Features (including cover article), CultureLab (book and event reviews), Feedback (humour), The Last Word (questions and answers) and Jobs & Careers. A Tom Gauld cartoon appears on the Letters page. [15] A readers' letters section discusses recent articles and discussions also take place on the website. Readers contribute observations on examples of pseudoscience to Feedback, and offer questions and answers on scientific and technical topics to Last Word. New Scientist has produced a series of books compiled from contributions to Last Word.

From issue 3228 of 4 May 2019 New Scientist introduced a new look, with a "slightly updated design, with ... a fresher, brighter feel". A dedicated "Views" section was added between news reports and in-depth features, including readers' letters, comment, and reviews on science, culture and society. Regular columnists were introduced, and columns in the culture pages. The light-hearted "Back Pages" includes the long-standing Feedback and The Last Word, puzzles, and a Q&A section. [16]

There are 51 issues a year, with a Christmas and New Year double issue. The double issue in 2014 was the 3,000th edition of the magazine.

Staff and contributors

Emily Wilson was appointed editor-in-chief in 2018. [17] [18] Current staff members are listed on page 5 of the magazine. Columnists as of 4 May 2019 included Annalee Newitz on novel tech. James Wong on food myths, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein's adventures in space-time and Graham Lawton on environment. [16]

Editors of New Scientist

Website

The New Scientist website carries blogs, reports and news articles. Users with free-of-charge registration have limited access to new content and can receive emailed New Scientist newsletters. Subscribers to the print edition have full access to all articles and the archive of past content that has so far been digitised.

Online readership takes various forms. Overall global views of an online database of over 100,000 articles are 10.8m by 7m unique users according to Google Analytics, as of January 2019. On social media there are 3.5m+ Twitter followers, 3.5m+ Facebook followers and 100,000+ Instagram followers as of January 2019. [19]

Spin-offs

New Scientist has published books derived from its content, many of which are selected questions and answers from the Last Word section of the magazine and website:

Other books published by New Scientist include:

New Scientist has also worked with other publishers to produce books based on the magazine's content:

In 2012 Arc, "a new digital quarterly from the makers of New Scientist, exploring the future through the world of science fiction" and fact was launched. [20] In the same year the magazine launched a dating service, NewScientistConnect, operated by The Dating Lab.[ citation needed ]

A Dutch edition of New Scientist was launched in June 2015, replacing the former Natuurwetenschap & Techniek (NWT) magazine. The monthly magazine, published by Veen Media, is sold in the Netherlands and Belgium. [21] [22]

Since 2016 New Scientist has held an annual science festival in London. Styled New Scientist Live, the event has attracted high-profile scientists and science presenters. [23]

Criticism

Greg Egan's criticism of the EmDrive article

In September 2006, New Scientist was criticised by science fiction writer Greg Egan, who wrote that "a sensationalist bent and a lack of basic knowledge by its writers" was making the magazine's coverage sufficiently unreliable "to constitute a real threat to the public understanding of science". In particular, Egan found himself "gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy" in the magazine's coverage [24] of Roger Shawyer's "electromagnetic drive", where New Scientist allowed the publication of "meaningless double-talk" designed to bypass a fatal objection to Shawyer's proposed space drive, namely that it violates the law of conservation of momentum. Egan urged others to write to New Scientist and pressure the magazine to raise its standards, instead of "squandering the opportunity that the magazine's circulation and prestige provides". [25] The editor of New Scientist, then Jeremy Webb, replied defending the article, saying that it is "an ideas magazine—that means writing about hypotheses as well as theories". [26]

"Darwin was wrong" cover

In January 2009, New Scientist ran a cover with the title "Darwin was wrong". [27] [28] The actual story stated that specific details of Darwin's evolution theory had been shown incorrectly, mainly the shape of phylogenetic trees of interrelated species, which should be represented as a web instead of a tree. Some evolutionary biologists who actively oppose the intelligent design movement thought the cover was both sensationalist and damaging to the scientific community. [28] [29] Jerry Coyne, author of the book Why Evolution Is True, called for a boycott of the magazine, which was supported by evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers. [28]

See also

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References

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