From the editors and reporters of Scientific American , this blog delivers commentary, opinion and analysis on the latest developments in science and technology and their influence on society and policy. From reasoned arguments and cultural critiques to personal and skeptical takes on interesting science news, you'll find a wide range of scientifically relevant insights here.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EDITORS
Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief
DiChristina oversees Scientific American , www.ScientificAmerican.com , Scientific American Mind and all newsstand special editions. A science journalist for more than 20 years, she first came to Scientific American in 2001 as its executive editor. She is also the president (in 2009 and 2010) of the 2,500-member National Association of Science Writers. She has been an adjunct professor in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at New York University for the past few years.
Previously, she spent nearly 14 years at Popular Science in positions culminating as executive editor. Her work in writing and overseeing articles about space topics helped garner that magazine the Space Foundation's 2001 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award. In spring 2005 she was Science Writer in Residence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her chapter on science editing appears in the second edition of A Field Guide for Science Writers . She is former chair of Science Writers in New York (2001 to 2004) and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Ricki Rusting, Managing Editor,
Rusting has been an editor at the magazine for more than 20 years and managing editor since 2002. Earlier, she worked in the popular books division of Macmillan Publishing Company (unrelated to today's Macmillan) and on a weekly trade newspaper in the health field. She came to Scientific American from the American Diabetes Association, where she supervised publication of a magazine and other materials for people with diabetes. Ricki holds a master's degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Philip Yam, Chief News Editor
Yam is chief news editor of Scientific American , responsible for the News Scan section of the print magazine and the overall news content online. He began working at the magazine in 1989, first as a copyeditor and then as a features editor specializing in physics. He is the author of The Pathological Protein: Mad Cow, Chronic Wasting and Other Prion Diseases .
Gary Stix, Editor, Senior Writer
Stix commissions, writes and edits features, news articles and Web blogs for Scientific American . His area of coverage is neuroscience. He also has frequently been the issue or section editor for special issues or reports on topics ranging from nanotechnology to obesity. He has worked for nearly 20 years at Scientific American , following three years as a science journalist at IEEE Spectrum, the flagship publication for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has an undergraduate degree in journalism from New York University. With his wife, he wrote a general primer on technology called Who Gives a Gigabyte?
Davide Castelvecchi, Editor
Castelvecchi covers physical sciences (including chemistry and biophysics) and mathematics for Scientific American . He has a PhD in mathematics from Stanford University and has held positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara, at Paris-Sud 11 University and at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Attending a program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, helped ease his transition to science writing. Before coming to Scientific American , Castelvecchi was a Web editor at the American Institute of Physics and a reporter at Science News magazine. He has freelanced for New Scientist , Sky & Telescope and National Geographic News . He is fluent in Italian as well as English.
Graham P. Collins, Editor
Collins has covered physics, mathematics and computer science for Scientific American for the past 10 years. Prior to that he worked for seven years as a writer and editor at Physics Today . He has a PhD in physics from Stony Brook University, New York; an MS in physics from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and a BS (Hons) in mathematics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Mark Fischetti, Editor
Fischetti is the editor in charge of environmental and energy coverage for Scientific American . He was managing editor of the magazine's Earth 3.0 special editions, and helped launch Scientific American Mind . His 2001 Scientific American article, "Drowning New Orleans," predicted the widespread disaster that a storm like Hurricane Katrina would impose. After Katrina hit he appeared on CNN, NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert, the History Channel and NPR News. He published "Protecting New Orleans" in February 2006, which described comprehensive projects that would protect deltas worldwide from storms. Fischetti has written freelance for The New York Times, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Fast Company and many others. He co-wrote Weaving the Web with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, which reveals how the Web was really created. He also co-wrote The New Killer Diseases with microbiologist Elinor Levy (prompting him to wash his hands much more frequently). Fischetti is a former managing editor of IEEE Spectrum and Family Business magazines. He has a physics degree and has twice served as the Attaway Fellow in Civic Culture at Centenary College of Louisiana, which awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Steve Mirsky, Editor
Mirsky has written the allegedly humorous Anti Gravity column for Scientific American since 1995 and is a member of the magazine's board of editors. Since 2006 his primary responsibilities have been hosting the magazine's weekly podcast, Science Talk, and overseeing the daily podcast, 60-Second Science . Mirsky received a master's degree in chemistry from Cornell University in 1985, after which he was awarded a Mass Media fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to work for a summer as a science journalist at WSVN-TV in Miami. This critical event removed him from the lab, to the great relief of the American Chemical Society. In 2009 he received an honorary doctorate in science from his alma mater, Lehman College of the City University of New York. Mirsky received a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2003 to 2004 academic year, during which he attended Alan Dershowitz's criminal law class at the Harvard Law School. Mirsky seldom exercises his right to remain silent.
Michael Moyer, Editor
Moyer is the editor in charge of technology coverage for Scientific American . Previously, he spent eight years at Popular Science magazine, where he was the articles editor. He won the 2005 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for his article "Journey to the 10th Dimension," and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs. He holds a degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
George Musser, Editor
Musser is a staff editor, writer and troublemaker for Scientific American magazine. He did his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering and mathematics at Brown University and his graduate studies in planetary science at Cornell University, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His thesis work, done with Steve Squyres (latterly of Mars rover fame), modeled mantle convection on Venus in order to explain broad plateaus, known as coronae, mapped by the Magellan orbiter. Although he had long done journalism as a hobby, writing on topics ranging from architecture to crack cocaine, his entry into science writing was something of an accident having to do with a desire never to experience another winter in upstate New York. From 1994 to 1998, Musser served as editor of Mercury magazine and of The Universe in the Classroom tutorial series at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a science and science-education nonprofit based in San Francisco. During his tenure, he expanded and revamped both publications. The San Francisco Examiner called Mercury "the most exciting and thought-provoking astronomy magazine for several light-years around." As a firm believer in empirical science, he awaits confirmation of this assessment by the Voyager space probes over the next 10,000 years. At Scientific American , his primary focus remains space science, ranging from planets to cosmology. Articles he solicited and edited regularly appear in The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies. Musser was the originator and one of the lead editors for the single-topic issue "A Matter of Time" (September 2002), which won a National Magazine Award for editorial excellence, and he coordinated the single-topic issue "Crossroads for Planet Earth" (September 2005), which won a Global Media Award from the Population Institute and was a National Magazine Award finalist.
Christine Soares, Editor: Biotech and Biomedical Science
Soares joined Scientific American in 2003 as the magazine's biotechnology editor after spending more than a year as an editor at TheScientist.com and several years before that as a freelance writer, editor and multimedia producer for a wide variety of popular science magazines and Web sites. Before devoting her editorial efforts entirely to science, Christine had attained a master's degree in journalism from New York University and spent three years as a staff writer at ABC News's Good Morning America, where she covered science and medicine, in between stories on war, politics, personal finance, "Bronco chases" and other natural disasters.
Kate Wong, Editor
Wong joined Scientific American in 1997. She edits and writes articles for the magazine about paleontology and anthropology, among other topics. She is the co-author, with Donald Johanson, of Lucy's Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins . She has a BS in physical anthropology and zoology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ONLINE REPORTERS AND EDITOR
David Biello, Associate Editor, Environment and Energy
Biello is the award-winning online associate editor for environment and energy. He joined ScientificAmerican.com in November 2005 and has written on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology for both the Web site and magazine. He has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999—long enough to be cynical but not long enough to be depressed. He is the host of the 60-Second Earth podcast, a contributor to the Instant Egghead video series and author of a children's book on bullet trains. He also happens to think Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species is a surprisingly good read.
Larry Greenemeier, Associate Editor, Technology
Greenemeier is responsible for reporting, writing, editing and assigning online articles that pertain to a number of different areas of technology: robotics, computers, medicine and environment, to name a few. He previously covered information technology (computers, microprocessors, IT security, IT outsourcing, etcetera) for the trade magazine InformationWeek, 1999 to 2007. He earned his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He is an avid long-distance runner, martial artist, and fan of science-fiction books and films.
Katherine Harmon, News Reporter
Harmon covers the health, medicine and neuroscience beats for ScientificAmerican.com . She also has a soft spot for paleontology and evolution stories—owing in large part to childhood trips to dig up marine fossils and arrowheads with her parents in Oklahoma. She joined the online group in January 2009 after completing an MA in journalism at the University of Missouri–Columbia. Her previous work has won regional and national awards and appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and, of course, Web sites. A degree in English from Vassar College reinforced her fondness for nonfiction books, and her subsequent job in book publishing reinforced her fondness for nonfiction writing. She lives in Brooklyn and still enjoys a good book as well as a good adventure—especially if it involves digging in the dirt.
Robin Lloyd, Online Editor
Lloyd is responsible for editing and assigning stories for Scientific American 's Web site. She also manages Scientific American 's Twitter feed, @sciam. Previously, she was a senior editor for LiveScience.com and SPACE.com, part of Imaginova Corp. She has additional experience in print journalism ( Pasadena Star–News ); wire journalism (City News Service of Los Angeles); and network online journalism ( CNN.com ). She has a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 1998–99 academic year.
John Matson, News Reporter
Matson writes about space, physics and mathematics for Scientific American 's Web site and coordinates its coverage of those subject areas. Much of his writing has focused on the search for extrasolar planets and the exploration of the solar system, through both the robotic projects already underway and the human missions planned for the future. He joined the editorial staff of ScientificAmerican.com in 2008 after two years as a copy editor for Scientific American magazine. He has an MA in journalism from New York University and a BA in pure mathematics from Pomona College. He enjoys cooking, bicycling and watching baseball.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
, Contributing Editor
Alpert writes, edits and consults on stories for Scientific American dealing with physics, astrophysics and information technology. He is the author of two science thrillers, Final Theory and Quantum Crash (to be published in 2010).
Stuart F. Brown, Contributing Editor
Brown writes, edits and consults on stories for Scientific American about energy, transportation, manufacturing, mechanical engineering, aviation and space. He is a former staffer at Fortune (10 years) and Popular Science (12 years) magazines, and a contributor to The New York Times . He received his BA from Bard College in 1977.
W. Wayt Gibbs, Contributing Editor
Gibbs is a freelance science writer and a contributing editor at Scientific American . He is also executive editor at Intellectual Ventures, a research and invention company near Seattle. Trained in physics and English at Cornell University, Gibbs served a brief stint writing for the science department at The Economist in London before joining the board of editors at Scientific American in 1992. In 1995 he left New York City to become the magazine's first west coast correspondent. In 1998 he was promoted to senior writer and launched a two-year series of "Expeditions" features. Gibbs was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at M.I.T. in 1999. His two-part series "The Unseen Genome" received both the Wistar Institute and AAAS Science Journalism awards in 2004. His 2005 article "Obesity: An Overblown Epidemic?" was included in the 2006 edition of Best American Science Writing . Gibbs has to date contributed more than 200 bylined articles to Scientific American and has edited numerous others. At Intellectual Ventures he works on original research in nuclear engineering, social science, and epidemiological modeling, among other areas. He is also editing a textbook on the science of modern cuisine. In his spare time he is an avid pianist and woodworker.
Marguerite Holloway, Contributing Editor
Holloway edits and writes articles about a variety of topics for Scientific American , including neuroscience, natural history, environmental science, health, conservation, physics, and women in science. She received a BA in comparative literature from Brown University and an MS in journalism from Columbia University. She is currently director of Science and Environmental Journalism and assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. She is working on a book to be published by W. W. Norton on nature and cities. Holloway is also the co-director of the dual-degree Earth and Environmental Science Journalism program. She has been teaching at the journalism school since 1997 and won the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in 2001 and a Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2009. Before she joined the staff at Scientific American , she worked as a reporter for the Medical Tribune and freelanced for publications including The Village Voice and Mother Jones . Her work has appeared in many other magazines and newspapers, among them Discover, The New York Times, Natural History and Wired .
Christie Nicholson, Contributing Editor
Nicholson hosts and produces Scientific American 's podcast 60-Second Psych and produces 60-Second Earth . She occasionally hosts for the daily 60-Second Science . She began at the magazine in 2007 as special projects editor. In this position, she helped launch two Web video series, which she also hosted: The Monitor and Instant Egghead . Nicholson has degrees in philosophy and biological science and spent nearly a decade producing award-winning sites for the corporate and nonprofit worlds. She earned her master's in journalism at Columbia University, where she garnered two Webbys for " Science of Sex " in 2007. An avid redhead, she studied orangutans in Borneo. She loves debating scientific ethics and is a recent convert to storm chasing.
John Rennie, Contributing Editor; former Editor in Chief at
Rennie is the former editor in chief of Scientific American , a position he held from 1994 to 2009. He continues to edit and consult on features and news for the magazine. He has been engaged in science writing and editing since 1985 for publications including Scientific American , The New York Times, The Economist and The Philadelphia Inquirer . He received his BS in biology in 1981 from Yale University and is an adjunct professor of science journalism at New York University. His awards include National Magazine Awards for Editorial Excellence (1996 and 2002, plus other finalist nominations) and the Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science (Council of Scientific Society Presidents) in 2000. He has appeared extensively on TV and radio including CNN, PBS, CBS, MSNBC, the History and Discovery channels, and NPR.
Sarah Simpson, Contributing Editor
Simpson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for Scientific American . Her 12-year career covering earth sciences originated at the University of Missouri, where she earned degrees in journalism and geology in 1997. She wrote briefly for Earth and Science News magazines before moving to New York to join the Scientific American editorial staff in 1999. Since becoming a freelancer in 2001, she has led several media training workshops for scientists and has even strayed occasionally from solid ground to write about space weather and ocean policy. Simpson now writes from her favorite hometown coffee shop in Riverside, Calif., where she lives with her geologist husband and two young sons.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN CONTRIBUTORS
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columnist, "Sustainable Developments"
Sachs is director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet professor of sustainable development, and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University. He is also special advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was director of the U.N. Millennium Project and special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also president and co-founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty. He is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation. For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and well-being. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including The New York Times best sellers Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet and The End of Poverty .
Michael Shermer, Columnist, "Skeptic"
Founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, Shermer is a monthly columnist for Scientific American , and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. Shermer's latest book is The Mind of the Market , on evolutionary economics. His last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design , and he is the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things . Shermer received his BA in psychology from Pepperdine University; an MA in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton; and his PhD in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Oprah, Phil Donahue, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer !). Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown . He blogs at www.skepticblog.com and you can follow him on Twitter @michaelshermer. When Shermer is not writing his articles and books, he is riding his bike.
Lawrence M. Krauss, Columnist, "Critical Mass"
Krauss is foundation professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Departments, associate director of the Beyond Center, co-director of the Cosmology Initiative and director of the exciting new Origins Initiative at Arizona State University, which will explore questions ranging from the origin of the universe to the origins of human culture and cognition. Until 2008, he was Ambrose Swasey professor of physics, professor of astronomy, and director of Case Western Reserve University's Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics. Krauss received his PhD from M.I.T. in 1982 and then joined the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He was appointed as a professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University in 1985, and then joined Case as chair of physics in 1993, a position he held until 2005. The author of seven popular books including international best seller, The Physics of Star Trek, and the award-winning, Atom, along with his newest book, Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond , Krauss is also a radio commentator and essayist for newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal ; has written a regular biweekly column for NewScientist ; and appears regularly on television. He is the author of over 250 scientific papers, winner of numerous international awards for his research accomplishments and his writing. (He is, for example, the only physicist to have been awarded the highest awards of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics.) He is a fellow of the American Physical Society as well as of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICANMIND EDITORS
Karen Schrock, Editor,
Scientific American MIND
Schrock has been an editor of Scientific American MIND since 2007, where she edits feature articles and runs Head Lines, the magazine's news department. After studying astronomy and physics at the University of Southern California, she worked in the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of California, Los Angeles, studying the brain structure of people with schizophrenia. She then enrolled in the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at New York University, where she earned a master's degree in journalism.
Ingrid Wickelgren, Editor,
Wickelgren solicits, writes and edits feature articles and other content for Scientific American MIND. She has a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Stanford University. Her past work includes serving as a contributing correspondent for Science magazine and a freelancer for national publications including Health, Popular Science, Business Week and The New York Times . She has worked as associate editor for Current Science , a biweekly magazine for middle school students published by the Weekly Reader Corp.; a writer/reporter for Science News; and areporter/fact-checker for Newsweek and Fortune magazines. She is the author of more than 200 news and feature articles as well as three nonfiction books: The Gene Masters: How a New Breed of Scientific Entrepreneurs Raced for the Biggest Prize in Biology ; Math Coach: A Parent's Guide to Helping Children Succeed in Math ; and Ramblin' Robots: Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts .
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