Fifteen languages, multiple platforms and one great institution: that is Scientific American, which celebrates its 168th year in August. I had another occasion to appreciate all of the above recently when we held our annual meeting of the international editions in New York City for the first time in many years. The multicultural mix, I have always thought, simply reflects the global collaborative nature of science itself.
During our meeting days, we shared ideas about how to improve what we do, discussed challenges in different markets and even had some laughs along the way. We held evening events at the New York Academy of Sciences (a panel discussion on fraud in science) and at the American Museum of Natural History (about a whale exhibit, including a demo of our Whale FM citizen science project with Zooniverse). You can find details on our @ScientificAmerican blog.
Our international assemblage seems nicely timed in light of this issue's cover story, “Astronomers Search for Signs of Life in the Skies of Distant Exoplanets,” by Michael D. Lemonick. Rather than looking at experiences in other countries, however, we are peering at other solar systems. Whereas once we had thought distances would never allow us to glean useful information about those distant worlds, the cosmic picture is slowly brightening. Someday, we can hope, we will look at the atmospheres of those worlds for signatures of life. There's a pleasant symmetry to that, I think, as we contemplate our own global home.
AWARDS: Science in Action News
The power to change the world for the better: that's Science in Action, also the name of a $50,000 special award sponsored by Scientific American for the annual Google Science Fair. On June 11 we will announce the finalists for Science in Action, now in its second year. The winner will follow on June 27. The Science in Action honoree will then travel to Mountain View, Calif., for the Google Science Fair awards event. I'll be there as chief judge. Updates will appear at www.ScientificAmerican.com. —M.D.