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A Busy 2011 at Scientific American

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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When I wrote my end-of-the-year update for staff, Bora Zivkovic, our chief blogs editor, reminded me that others are also interested in the goings on at Scientific American. It’s never a good idea to say no to Bora. So here’s a summary of some highlights for 2011:

AWARDS

We won a 2011 National Magazine Award in the Finance, Technology and Lifestyle Magazines category for “General Excellence” for the September, November and December 2010 issues. We also were nominated for “Single Topic Issue” for “The End,” the September 2010 issue.

ScientificAmerican.com is a 2011 Webby Honoree in the Radio/Podcasts Category for 60 Second Science and were also a Webby Science Nominee.

In October, Scientific American staff editor George Musser received the 2011 AIP Science Writing Award for his article, “Could Time End?” in the September 2010 issue.

EDUCATION INITIATIVES

We launched all three activities that were Scientific American’s contributions of the six-project Nature Publishing Group (with Nature Education) program called Bridge to Science for Change the Equation:

1. The initial Bring Science Home activities, including five videos, launched May 2. We added weekly posts in October, with our terrific content partners.

2. We launched regular Citizen Science coverage on May 2, featuring a new research project each week for the public to join. Then, on November 29, we went live with our first original project, Whale.fm, developed in partnership with a wonderful team including The Zooniverse, WHOI, TNO, University of Oxford and SMRU. Tens of thousands of citizen scientists have helped make matches of whale calls. I’ve done a few dozen matches myself–I find it very relaxing and fun to listen to the whales for science!

3. 1,000 Scientists in 1,000 Days is our project linking teachers and scientist volunteers who are willing to visit the classroom. Here’s a great NY1 video about one such visit. The sign-up form for scientist volunteers launched May 2. We ran focus groups with teachers over the summer. We launched the matching service on September 26. More than 1,600 people are now using the service.

Scientific American participated in the first Google Science Fair as a partner, with CERN, LEGO and National Geographic; the fair drew some 7,000 entries from 90 countries. I was the chief judge and master of ceremonies for the awesome finalist awards event.

WEB SITE

On July 5, we launched the Scientific American Blog Network with 60 terrific bloggers. In addition to their insightful posts in general, the bloggers have contributed to many fine “event” days on the site and we have coordinated on coverage.

We launched new design for the www.ScientificAmerican.com home page on May 2, including the Science Agenda and other features. We added new slide show and video functionality during the year, too.

We launched three new weekly podcasts (adding to the existing Science Talk, 60 Second Science, 60 Second Earth and 60 Second Mind): 60 Second Health, 60 Second Space and 60 Second Tech.

NEW DIGITAL PRODUCTS

We launched with the free Google Currents app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, as a featured content supplier on December 8.

Our free mobile site skin, which works for all smart-phone browsers, became available on November 14. I’ve tried it on BlackBerry and iPhone myself and am personally pleased.

We launched a new PDF series, called Briefings, in early December. Briefings come in six editions: five monthly single-theme newsletters (Nanotechnology, Space & Physics, Climate Change & Environment, Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain) plus one weekly, mixed-topic version.

PARTNERS

The first Scientific American/Farrar Straus Giroux imprint release was in September—the highly praised Journey to the Exoplanets app. The first three books for the imprint will be out in spring/summer 2012, many more in the pipeline.

Stay tuned for more exciting news from Scientific American in 2012!

Mariette DiChristina About the Author: Editor in Chief, Mariette DiChristina, oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American MIND and all newsstand special editions. Follow on Twitter @mdichristina.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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