Gerard Piel, the former publisher of Scientific American who helped to redefine the modern era of science journalism, died on September 5 at the age of 89. His death resulted from the lingering complications of a stroke suffered this past February.
Although Piel never formally studied science--he graduated from Harvard magna cum laude as a history major--his influence over science literacy worldwide cannot be overstated. For six years in the 1940s, he worked as the science editor at Life magazine, reaching an audience of millions. Then, in 1947 he, fellow journalist Dennis Flanagan and a group of investors purchased Scientific American. The already venerable magazine had published accounts of inventions and discoveries since 1845, but its new owners had still higher ambitions.
This article was originally published with the title Gerard Piel (1915-2004).