Science News is an American bi-weekly magazine devoted to short articles about new scientific and technical developments, typically gleaned from recent scientific and technical journals. Science News has been published since 1922 by Society for Science & the Public, a non-profit organization founded by E. W. Scripps in 1920. American chemist Edwin Slosson served as the publication's first editor. From 1922 to 1966, it was called Science News Letter. The title was changed to Science News with the March 12, 1966 issue (vol. 89, no. 11).
Tom Siegfried was a former editor from 2007-2012. In 2012, Siegfried stepped down, and Eva Emerson became the Editor in Chief of the magazine.
In April 2008, the magazine changed from a weekly format to the current biweekly format, and the website was also redeployed. The April 12 issue (Vol.173 #15) was the last weekly issue. The first biweekly issue (Vol.173 #16) was dated May 10 and featured a new design. The 4-week break between the last weekly issue and first biweekly issue was explained in the Letter from the Publisher (p. 227) in the April 12 issue.
The articles of the magazine are placed under "News":
The articles featured on the magazine's cover are placed under "Features". The departments that remain constant from issue to issue are:
- Editor's Note—A column written by Eva Emerson, the magazine's editor-in-chief, that usually highlights the current issue's prime topics.
- Notebook—A page that includes several sections:
- Say What?—A definition and description of a scientific term.
- 50 Years Ago—An excerpt from an older issue of the magazine.
- Mystery Solved—An explanation of the science underlying everyday life.
- SN Online—Excerpts from articles published online.
- How Bizarre...—An odd or interesting fact that may not be well known to the magazine's audience.
- Reviews and Previews—A discussion of upcoming and recently released books, movies and services.
- Feedback—Letters from readers commenting on the recent Science News articles.
- Comment—An interview with a researcher.
Humorous Editorial style
While Science News conveys scientific facts, its headlines and articles often contain wry humor, pop-culture references, and colloquial phrases designed to draw the reader into the full story. Examples of catchy headlines and opening lines include:
- From author Bruce Bower:
- "It’s enough to send chills down Ozzie’s and Harriet’s happily married, two-kids-and-a-backyard, 1950s-sitcom spines."
- "All too often, high school students have to decide whether to join in on gulping down booze with the cool kids or lighting up a cigarette with parking-lot rebels."
- "Welcome to Animation Domination, Stone Age style."
- From author Susan Milius:
- "A patch over a male Gouldian finch’s right eye works like beer goggles, though the bird doesn’t need booze to flirt unwisely. If limited to using his left eye when checking out possible mates, he risks making really stupid choices."
- "The most ambitious effort yet to trace the evolutionary history and geography of living birds is ruffling the feathers of some old ideas."
- "A dollop of living yellow ooze has aced a test of navigation, showing that you don’t really need a mind to make spatial memories."
- Headline: Vampire squid no Gordon Gekko, Opening: "An ominously named creature of the deep that has come to signify the most predatory aspects of Wall Street turns out to be more of a dumpster-diving scavenger than a blood-sucking predator."
- "The likelihood of a worker exploding in a burst of toxins increases with age, at least in a species of tropical termite."
- From author Rachel Ehrenberg:
- "Despite what the fashion magazines tell you, 40 isn’t the new 30. Seventy is."
- "Evil geniuses, commence drooling. Scientists have figured out how to remotely control a cell’s self-destruction."
- "You don’t have to be a caped superhero to stop a speeding bullet."
- "Science has validated what every grandmother knows: Celery makes chicken soup taste better."
- From author Alexandra Witze:
- "As detective stories go, the Mystery of the Missing Xenon may not have the catchiest title. But scientists in Germany say they might have cracked this long-standing enigma."
- "She was born, like all hurricanes, as a faintly inauspicious stirring of winds. But she didn’t come from off the coast of Africa, as many tropical Atlantic storms do. She was a child of the Caribbean."
- "Two giant earthquakes in the eastern Indian Ocean have shown geologists that breaking up is easy to do — for tectonic plates, that is."
- From author Tanya Lewis:
- "A snakebite may bring on a world of hurt, but a substance found in black mamba venom could actually relieve pain."
- "While it’s no ice-nine, a frozen form of methane trapped in ocean sediments could be cause for concern."
- "Not all planets are content to dutifully circle a star. A new rogue planet has been spied roaming free among a pack of young stars about 115 to 160 light-years from Earth."