Many universities have dedicated student-run science publications. Such publications are ideal places for young science writers to work with an editorial team, build up confidence and grow their portfolios. But they are also teasers of what is to come from the emerging generation of science writers.

Periodically, we’ll cover some of those student-run science publications here on The SA Incubator. Today, we look at the inaugural issue of Nerve Magazine from Queen’s University, Canada. The publication is very much tailored as a digital magazine, with issues to be released every month. (Print copies will be published four times a year.)


Nerve Magazine does not have a motto but if it did, it would have been along the line: “we are as beautiful as science.” Admittedly, the motto may have been catchier but you get the message. Nerve Magazine is not only packed with uber-interesting short articles but it’s great on the eye too.

The inaugural issue, released this month, is seven feature articles long. The articles are short (roughly 500-600 words in length) but every paragraph of each one of the articles transpires the very palpable enthusiasm of the writer. This is very refreshing and is perhaps the hallmark of young writers and science enthusiasts. Older science writers, pay attention!

This first issue tackles physics, space and technology. Not much biology in this one unfortunately. But that’s warranted. Scientists have discovered strong evidence of the existence of the Higgs Boson and put our most advanced rover onto Mars in the past couple of months after all. So I’m not lamenting; instead I gleefully read articles about Ultraviolet solar rays, an unmanned yacht which uses wind energy and solar panels to power itself and the winning Curiosity rover and Higgs Boson combo (of course). Articles are contributed by students from Queen’s University.

To get students to actually read a science publication, it probably has to look good. And Nerve Magazine does look good. Typical of science publications targeted for the more general public, it features large high-resolution pictures (of Mars landscape, for instance) but also opted for a mildly minimalist background. A lot of Apple-esque white spaces which leaves the floor for the content—for the science—clearly works.

The magazine was founded and is currently edited by Catherine Owsik, a fourth-year science student. She also does the page layout so she’s quite the all-in-one young science writer. In her interview on this blog yesterday, Catherine reveals that she wants to publish more articles and experiment with multimedia in the next issue. It will definitely be interesting to see how Nerve Magazine evolves.

In one sentence, Nerve Magazine is a beautiful magazine with great content from enthusiastic young writers. The second issue definitely has a lot to live up to but it appears to be in great hands. Exciting times ahead.

You can visit Nerve Magazine’s website here and read the interview with editor in chief, Catherine Owsik, with this blog here.