New Scientist

New Scientist
New Scientist

New Scientist cover, 6 February 2010
Editor Roger Highfield
Categories Science
Frequency weekly
Total circulation
137,605 [1]
First issue 22 November 1956
Company Reed Business Information Ltd
Country United Kingdom
Language English
ISSN 0262-4079

New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine[2], which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier. The company Albert E. Reed acquired New Scientist when it merged with IPC Magazines in 1970, retaining the magazine when it sold most of its consumer magazines in a management buyout to what is now IPC Media.

The magazine covers current developments, news, and commentary from the scientific community, including environmental issues such as climate change. It also prints speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical. There is a readers' letters section which discusses recent articles, and discussion on the website.

New Scientist is based in London, England, and publishes UK, U.S. and Australian editions. Roger Highfield became editor in 2008.



An article published on their 10th year anniversary gives some anecdotes on the founding.[3]

The British science magazine Science Journal, published 1965–71, was merged with the New Scientist to form New Scientist and Science Journal.[4]

The general look and feel of New Scientist changed over the years, like all magazines. In the early days the cover had a text list of articles, rather than a picture. Pages were numbered sequentially for an entire volume of many issues, as is usual for scientific publications, so that the first page of a March issue might be 651; later each issue's pages were numbered separately starting with 1. Colour was not used except for blocks of colour on the cover. Typefaces and layout were firmly of their day. In 1964 there was a regular "Science in British Industry" section with several items. And the price increased over the years from a shilling to several pounds[5].

Some regular features disappeared over the years: the Grimbledon Down comic strip about a research establishment run by the hapless Treem; Ariadne, later with Nature, commenting every week on the lighter side of science and technology and the plausible but impractical humorous inventions of (fictitious) inventor Daedalus, often developed by the (fictitious) DREADCO corporation[6].


New Scientist always runs many pages of advertisements for jobs in the field of science, currently as the last section of the magazine. In the early days they were in a "Classified Advertisements" section with subsections "Official Appointments", "Appointments and Situations Vacant", and very little else (e.g., "Travel", with a list of coach holidays and prices). The general classified section was dropped in favour of what in 2011 is "NewScientist Jobs". In addition to more mundane advertising (cars, computers, airlines), advertisements for things of interest to scientists and technologist are interspersed with the magazine's text.


New Scientist has a website on which content is available. Access to blogs and limited news articles is available to anybody; 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. As of 2011 online-only subscriptions were available, but only to subscribers in North America[7].The website also has special reports on many topics.

The magazine had a weekly podcast, SciPod, which was discontinued in October 2007.

In late 2004 added a subdomain, "nomoresocks" (No More Socks), where visitors could search for, rate and discuss innovative gifts. Use of the site dropped considerably by June 2005, and the section has since been retired.

From mid-2006 some New Scientist content was made available to users of Newsvine, a community-driven social news web site.

From mid-December 2009 to March 2010, non-subscriber users could read up to seven articles in one month, articles were then obscured by an invitation to purchase a subscription, which could be avoided by disabling JavaScript in the browser.

In 2010 New Scientist started The S Word, a blog providing a forum for the discussion of "The science of politics – and vice versa". This was a part of an influential wider attempt to raise the profile of science in the general election of 2010 in the UK.

According to Technorati, is the 14th in the list of most-linked-to news organisations and the only science and technology specialist in the top 100.[citation needed]

Website layout is organized into several sub-sections. The main site[8] includes a list of news stories and features.

The technology site, environment site and space site were retired in 2008, with the content being integrated into the main site. The site also includes a blog, on a range of topics from inventions to "short sharp" science.


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 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".[9]

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".[10]

Darwin cover

In January 2009, New Scientist ran a cover with the title "Darwin was wrong". The actual story stated that specific details of Darwin's evolution theory had been shown wrong, mainly the shape of phylogenetic trees of interrelated species.[11] However, prominent champions of evolution engaged in opposing intelligent design beliefs thought the cover was both sensationalist and damaging to the scientific community.[11][12] Dr. Jerry Coyne, author of the book Why Evolution is True (ISBN 0199230846) and its related blog, called for a boycott of the magazine, which was supported by prominent evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers.[11]


Over the years New Scientist has published several series of books derived from its content. Most recently it has compiled seven very successful books of selected questions and answers from the Last Word section of the magazine and the Last Word website.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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