Frequently Asked Questions

What's New?

Easier to use, with more options.

The new allows you to browse, view, and purchase from the entire history of our magazine back to 1845 - all online.

Digital subscribers no longer have to toggle between websites to access their subscripiton and view online content.  Now, subscription content can be enjoyed here at  Digital subscribers can still download subscription content as well:  from the articles themselves, or straight from the online Table of Contents.

Plus, now there is only one sign-in to access all the features of - whether you are a print subscriber, a digital subscriber, here to comment on an article, or just browsinsg the site.

Our goal is to provide an easy, fun, and informative online environment.  If you have any comments or suggestions about, you are welcome to send them to

What are the technical specifications for using

Our website works best with a supported browser that is up-to-date, accepts cookies, and is JavaScript enabled. We support the following browsers:
    •    Internet Explorer version 8 and higher
    •    Chrome version 28 and higher
    •    Firefox version 22 and higher
    •    Safari version 5.1 and higher
    •    Mobile Safari
    •    Android version 4.0 and higher

If a browser is not listed, it is not supported by our website.

Please note:  digital subscribers should use desktop or tablet devices to access their paid content.  Smartphone access is not recommended at this time.

Should I accept cookies?

Users of will want to accept cookies in their browser. Cookies limit the number of advertisements you will see when you use our website, and they will enable you to stay logged in to access digital subscription material and/or article discussions (comments). Learn more about how Scientific American use cookies.

I use Internet Explorer, how do I configure my browser?

First, please make sure you have the latest version of Internet Explorer.  Update if necessary.

Open IE and click on Tools
Click on Internet Options
In the Privacy tab, lower the bar to the very bottom, so it reads "Accept all Cookies"
Click on Apply
Click on OK

I don't see my subscription in My Account. What do I do?

First please check your system against our technical specifications, listed above.

If you are signed in to, and you do not see your subscription listed in My Account > Subscriptions:  Click on "Don't see all your subscriptions?", enter your account number, and click on Add Account.

If you need your account number, please email subscriber customer service, or call us at 800-333-1199.



What content is available on contains many articles and features from Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines, in addition to news, blogs, videos, and other web-only content. Access to feature-length magazine content on requires a Digital or a Print/Digital Subscription Plan.  Or, if you do not have a subscription, you can purchase individual issues online.

How do I find an article on

Using the Search function on the, you may search by topic, author, or title. Once the results of your search are delivered, you may sort by date or relevance of your search query.

Why should I register on

There are many beneficial reasons to create a registration account on Registration is required to sign up for our series of free Newsletters and to comment on articles. Additionally, registrants are eligible for exclusive announcements and promotions from Scientific American. From time to time, features are made available to registrants that cannot be accessed by unregistered site visitors.

What is “My Account”?

The “My Account” section on is where registered users, subscribers, and online customers can review their purchase histories, download purchased material, change their free Newsletter selections, and advise us of their communications preferences.

I forgot my password. How do I recover it?

Simply click the “Forgot Password” link on the login screen. Then enter your email address or Screen Name and fill the “Image Verification” tab with the characters indicated. You will receive an email with instructions to reset your password.

What are the “Terms and Conditions of Use”?

The Terms of Use outlines the business rules governing your use of free services offered on the website, and the business rules for paid products and services that you may purchase in the future. We require that you accept “Terms of Use” when you register on and/or make a purchase from our website.

Are there rules for leaving comments on articles?

We ask that you follow our Community Guidelines when making comments on articles at our site.  We reserve the right to delete comments and/or ban users from the site.

What information do you gather and how do you use it?

Our use of any information we collect regarding your usage of this website, or your purchases of products and services we offer is outlined in our Privacy Policy.

I have a subscription to the print edition of Scientific American or Scientific American Mind. Can I view feature articles on

Viewing feature-length articles on requires a Scientific American or Scientific American Mind Digital or a Print/Digital subscription plan.  If you do not have a digital option with your subscription, you may purchase individual issues online.

To upgrade a print subscription, a new subscription which includes digital access must be purchased.  If your current subscription has less than 12 months remaining, you can purchase a new subscription that includes digital access, and it will upgrade your current subscription for free.  If your current subscription balance exceeds 12 months please contact customer service for further options.

We do not offer partial upgrades.

How do I change my address for my print subscription?

Please advise us of your new address about 6 to 8 weeks prior to your move. You may change your address online , or you may email your new address at You may also call customer service at 800-333-1199.

How do I renew my print subscription?

If you ordered your subscription through the mail, your will receive several renewal reminder notices prior to expiration. Please consider the extra savings we offer when you choose a two- or three-year subscription renewal.

If you ordered your subscription online through Scientific, your subscription is likely on a Continuous Service Plan. This means that about 30 days prior to getting your final issue, you will receive a reminder notice that your subscription will be renewed. If you want to renew, you don’t need to do anything. We will charge your renewal to the credit card we have on file. If you don’t wish to renew, you must advise us upon receipt of the reminder notice. If we are unable to charge your card, we will invoice you for the amount due on your renewal order.

What is the difference between the various Digital and Print/Digital subscription plans you offer?

The principle difference between the various plans is the depth of archival content included. If you would enjoy having access to every article ever published in Scientific American, we encourage you to consider our All Access Plan with Full Archive.

All Digital Subscription Plans include online access, downloadable PDFs for the issues included in your subscription term, and access through our Tablet Edition apps. To access your digital subscription on your iPad, you must download the Scientific American or Scientific American Mind App from the App Store or iTunes, and log in to the app with your email address and password.

What happened to

Your subscription is now accessed at Please sign in to with your SciamDigital login credentials.

You will continue to enjoy the same subscriber benefits and features that you enjoyed as a subscriber to You will still receive an email notification that the latest issue is available for downloading, and you will have the added convenience of being able to read the issue online.

While does publish free web-only content, feature magazine content from Scientific American magazine is only available to paid Digital subscribers.

How do I renew my Digital or Print/Digital Subscription?

Digital Subscription Plans are offered on a continuous service basis. This means that approximately 30 days before your subscription expires, you will receive a notice advising you that your subscription is up for renewal, along with the amount due. If you wish to continue with your Digital Subscription, do nothing. Your subscription will be renewed automatically. The amount due will be automatically charged to the credit card we have on file. 

I have a Digital Subscription and cannot download an article or issue.

Please make sure that you logged on to Also make sure that the issue you’re trying to download is included in your subscription plan. Different subscription plans provide different levels of access to Archive Material. Additionally, Scientific American Mind issues and articles are not included with Scientific American Digital or Print/Digital subscriptions.

Please see our Digital Users Guide for further assistance.

How do I cancel my Digital or Print Digital subscription?

New Digital and Print + Digital subscription orders are only cancellable within 5 days of order date.

Renewal Digital and Print + Digital subscription orders are only cancellable within 30 days of the credit card transaction date. You will be refunded for the unused portion of the subscription. 

You can cancel by calling us at 800-333-1199.

I would like to purchase a Scientific American Digital Subscription for my school, college, university, or business. How do I do that?

Scientific American and Scientific American Mind Digital subscriptions are intended, and priced, for individual use only. Simultaneous logins from multiple users is not supported. Schools, colleges, universities, businesses, and government agencies requiring enterprise-wide access should inquire about a Site License:

How do I get the Scientific American or Scientific American Mind Tablet App?

Access to the Scientific American or Scientific American Mind Tablet Edition for iPad is included with all Scientific American Digital, Scientific American Mind Digital, and Print/Digital Subscription Plans. Alternatively, iPad-only subscriptions and single copies to the Scientific American and Scientific American Mind Tablet Editions may be purchased from Apple within the App.

I already have a print subscription to Scientific American. Does it include access to the Scientific American Tablet Edition for iPad?

The Tablet Edition for iPad is included for active print subscribers who purchased their subscriptions at the publisher's suggested retail price: $34.97 in the United States/$39 in Canada/$44 International. Customers who purchased their subscriptions at discounted or promotional prices may upgrade their subscriptions by clicking here or calling 1-800-333-1199. When you upgrade your subscription by extending it for an additional year, you will also receive access to the Tablet Edition for iPad for the remaining issues of your current subscription term.

I already have a subscription to Scientific American Digital. Does it include access to the Tablet Edition for iPad?

Yes!  The Tablet Edition for iPad is included for all active Scientific American Digital subscribers and is available for download from the Apple App Store or from iTunes.  Current digital subscribers can simply sign into the app with their email address and password.

I subscribe to Scientific American Mind. Is there a Tablet App for Scientific American Mind?

Yes! Our Scientific American Mind Tablet Edition for iPad App is available for download from the App Store or from iTunes.

I'm a qualifying print or digital subscriber. How do I get my issues through the Tablet Edition app for iPad?

For qualifying print subscribers who purchased their subscripiton online, and all digital subscribers, you can simply sign into our iPad apps with the same email and password that you use to sign into

If your subscription qualifies, but you have never signed into our website before, you can set up your access to the Scientific American Tablet Edition right here at
Go to and click on Register.
Click on the "I am already a subscriber" box.
Enter your account number.
Click on "Look up Account"
Complete the fields which were not populated by your account information.
Agree to our Terms of Use
Click Create My Account

You will need to verify your account with an email that will be automatically sent to you.  Check your spam folder for this email if you do not receive it right away.  When your account is verified, and you can see your qualifying subscription in My Account at, the same email and password will work in our iPad app.

The iPad app downloads directly into your iPad's Newsstand.

If you already have an account at, please navigate to the Subscriptions tab in My Account.  If you do not see your subscription there, please click on "Don't see all your subscriptions?", enter your account number in the field that pops up, and click on Add Account.

When your subscription is visible in the Subscriptions tab in My Account, you can then sign into the App with the email and password that you use to sign into

I entered my print or digital subscription information, but nothing is happening or I am getting a "Failure to Authenticate" message.

Print subscribers:  be sure that you completed all necessary steps for authentication, and that you arrived at the "Done!" page. If you still require assistance, please email your account details to or call 1-800-333-1199 to reach our Customer Care Representatives. They will be able to tell you whether your current subscription qualifies for access to the Tablet Edition for iPad, and upgrade your current subscription if required.

I am not a print subscriber. I have questions about a subscription or single copy purchased within the app.

To discuss your Apple subscription or in-App purchase, please contact Apple:

Apple customers should not use the in-App sign-in for Scientific American customers. If you are an Apple customer, tap the gear in the upper right corner, then tap “Restore All Purchases” to reset your Apple subscription/purchase.

How do I get the Scientific American Tablet Edition for iPad app?

You save when you purchase a qualifying print or digital subscription from Scientific American. Click here to subscribe, or call 1-800-333-1199.

If you prefer to read Scientific American solely on an iPad, you can download the app on your iPad from the App Store., and purchase an in-App iPad-only subscription from Apple.

What do I get with the Scientific American Tablet Edition for iPad app?

The app allows you to download and view issues of Scientific American's Tablet Edition. The Tablet Edition includes all of the editorial content featured in a print issue of Scientific American, as well as bonus interactive material. You can also purchase single issues or iPad-only subscriptions from within the app.

What editorial content is included in the Scientific American Tablet Edition?

The Scientific American Tablet Edition contains everything in the print magazine, from cover to cover, plus multimedia extras such as audio, video, and slide shows.

The app only contains full issues from July 2012 forward. Archival issues are not available at this time. A subscription to Scientific American Digital includes access to the Tablet Edition for iPad, plus rolling archival access going back four years, or full archival access to 1845 with our All Access plan. Click here to subscribe to Scientific American Digital.

How am I notified when the latest issue of Scientific American is available to download?

When you open the Scientific American Tablet Edition for iPad app, it will tell you if there is a new issue ready for download. You can also get update notices from the App Store when new issues are available.

Can I share issues I purchased from my iPad app with a friend?

Sharing of purchased issues is not available.

How much does the Scientific American Tablet Edition for iPad app cost?

The app itself is free. Once installed on your iPad, issues from July 2012 forward are available at no cost, and you can either purchase single issues for $5.99 or purchase a subscription ($34.99 for a year) to download issues as they become available. The iPad edition is included for active US, Canadian, and International Scientific American Print and Digital subscribers who purchased their subscriptions at the suggested retail price. Other subscribers may upgrade their subscriptions by extending their current subscriptions by one year.

How are App-only subscriptions renewed?

If you buy a subscription through the App Store or your iTunes account, your subscription with Apple will automatically renew until you cancel it. Here is a link to more information from the App Store:

How do I cancel my iPad-only subscription?

Your subscription will automatically renew until you cancel it through your iTunes account. If you'd like to turn off auto-renew, you can do so by changing your settings in iTunes. Here is a link to more information from the App Store:

I purchased my subscription, or an individual issue, through iTunes and had to re-install the app from the App Store, and now my purchase/subscription is gone. How do I get them back?

After you re-install the app and launch it, a dialog box will appear that says "Do you want to restore your previous purchases?" Tap the "Restore" button and enter your iTunes password. If this dialog box does not appear, or you would like to restore your purchases at another time, tap the gear in the upper right corner of the Library view and select "Restore All Purchases."

Does Scientific American offer a Tablet Edition for other tablets or mobile devices?

At this time, we only offer the Tablet Edition for iPad. We do plan to introduce tablet editions for other devices such as Kindle Fire, Nook, and Android-based tablets.

Our pdf magazines can be read on any device.

How do I keep up with everything that’s happening at Scientific American?

Scientific American’s online presence extends beyond

You can “Like” Scientific American or Scientific American MIND on Facebook, follow @sciam, @sciammind, @sciamblogs our editors and contributors on Twitter. Check us out on Pinterest, Google+ and SciAmerican, the official YouTube channel of Scientific American.

What are Scientific American Briefings?

Briefings is a collection of e-publications from Scientific American that brings you up to speed with research highlights selected from peer-reviewed, professional science journals.
Each issue is delivered electronically as a 6-8 page PDF for instant access and easy reference, each issue delivers the most current scientific developments on the topics that matter most to you — simple, easy and fast.

View the Briefings Collection now!


Where can I purchase a newsstand copy of Scientific American or Scientific American Mind?

Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines are sold at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Hudson News, Books A Million, and other leading magazine retailers in the United States and Canada.

The English language version of Scientific American is available at news agents around the world, particularly at news agents located at airports and other transportation terminals.

For a directory of stores and News Agents that sell Scientific American in the United Kingdom, click here.

How do I purchase a back issue of Scientific American?

Every issue Scientific American and Scientific American Mind in digital format is available for purchase. Search our Archive to view and purchase single issues, a subscription package or give a gift.

Alternatively, we maintain a limited inventory of back issues in print available for purchase. For availability and pricing information, please call 800-333-1199 in the United States/Canada and
515-248-7684 for everywhere else. Please have complete issue (Magazine/Month/Year) information when you call.

Print issues are not available online.

What forms of payment are accepted on

We accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

Does Scientific American publish eBooks?

Scientific American publishes new eBooks every month. To view our latest releases and to sign up for our eBooks newsletter, please visit eBooks may be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, or Barnes&Noble.

I don't have an eReader. How do I read your eBooks?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes all offer free apps with which to read eBooks.  If you purchase an eBook from Amazon, there is a free Kindle app you can put on your tablet, smartphone, or desktop.  The free app for Barnes & Noble is the Nook app, and the free app for iTunes customers is iBook.

What are Scientific American “Classics”?

Scientific American Classics is an Anthology Series that draws on Scientific American’s archive. Each anthology includes 70+ pages that is published in PDF format.  To see the releases in this series, please visit the Classics page.


How do I get more information about Scientific American Travel and Cruises?

Log on to the web site of Insight Cruises, Scientific American’s Cruise and Travel partner, here.

I saw a Scientific American “Special Collector’s Edition” in the store. How do I buy one?

Releases in Scientific American’s “Special Collector’s Edition” series are published 2 or 3 times per year and are sold at bookstores, airport and transportation shops, and leading supermarkets and pharmacies. Each release is a hybrid between a trade paperback book and a magazine, featuring heavy weight paper and deluxe cover stock. Releases in the series include “A Matter of Time,” “His Brain, Her Brain,” “What Makes Us Human,” “Extreme Physics,” and “181 Illusions.”

Special Collector’s Editions are also available for purchase in digital format and in print.

If purchasing in print, please call 800-333-1199 for pricing information and please note that inventory is very limited.

I downloaded an issue that I purchased and now I can’t find it. What do I do?

Single issue purchases are available for download anytime in your account history. If you need help configuring downloads in your browser, please consult your browser’s help desk.

How do I contact Customer Service?

For questions related to your subscriptions purchased or general account information, please view our Customer Service contact us section.

I would like to submit an article or send a letter to the editors. What is your procedure?

Editorial correspondence should be sent to, or addressed to:

 The Editors, Scientific American

 Nature America, Inc.

 75 Varick Street

 New York, NY 10013

To submit an article for consideration, please follow our Submission Instructions.

 Please note: we cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or materials of any kind.

I would like to order Reprints of an article published in Scientific American or Scientific American Mind.

The minimum order for Reprints is 1,000 units. For additional information, please fax your inquiry to 1-212-355-0408, or send a message to

If you are unable to meet the 1,000 Reprint minimum, you may order back issues. Please call 1-800-333-1199 for availability and pricing information.

I am an educator and would like to order a bulk subscription for classroom and curricular use. Do you offer special student rates?

The Scientific American Site License allows unlimited IP access and is perfect for schools and libraries.  For information about the Scientific American Site License, please contact

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