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See Inside October 2010

New, Yet Familiar

Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina introduces the October 2010 issue of Scientific American


Everything evolves. Plant and animal species adapt to their environments. Rocks, under heat or pressure, shift form. Earth revolves around a sun that traces its arc of existence through the ever changing cosmos. And with this issue, Scientific American introduces the latest design and content adjustments in its 165-year history, ready to embrace the next 165.

Longtime readers will see much that is familiar in the magazine and its Web site, www.ScientificAmerican.com, from the classic design to the hallmark informational graphics. As always, collaborations with scientists—as authors of the feature articles and as sources for top journalists—inform everything we do.

In recent months we have explored what improvements we could add to ­Scientific American’s traditional strengths, to make its print and digital editions more useful for readers.

You made it clear that the feature articles are important to your relationship with Scientific American. You want to dive deep into the science in some articles but also enjoy some shorter pieces. You want a variety of topics, from basic research to technologies, from physical sciences to life sciences. This issue delivers: in our cover story, biologist Jonathan K. Pritchard tells us “How We Are Evolving.” Physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow describe “The (Elusive) Theory of Everything.” Other articles look at the wonder of an octopus sucker, the challenge of designing ethical robots, the true value of the Human Genome Project, the tribulations of parents with autistic children and the production of fuels using “artificial photosynthesis."

We know science’s role is important to you. So in a first, we created an exclusive poll on attitudes about science. We worked with Scientific American’s 14 international editions around the globe and with our sister publication, Nature, the weekly international journal of science, to conduct the poll online. Don’t miss “In Science We Trust.”

We have sharpened the monthly departments as well. In Science Agenda, the Board of Editors analyzes a top science issue, while an expert comments on another critical policy area in Forum. The new Advances provides tightly written updates on key developments in science and technology. In response to readers’ interests in personal well-being and in technology’s influence on their lives, we introduce The Science of Health and TechnoFiles, from best-selling author and New York Times columnist David Pogue. Last, punctuating each issue is a new back-page column, Graphic Science, which tells a story about a complex topic through a powerful informational graphic. As always, we are eager for your thoughts and reactions.

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