Favorite science news sources
Most of the entries on this list are magazines, but not all are and this list is by no means meant to be comprehensive. There are certainly lots of niche publications and websites out there that cater to all manner of scientific interests.
- Popular Science: Very easy to read content. Sort of like the “People” magazine of the science world. A little bit of hype but mostly pretty good information.
- ScienceDaily.com: This website publishes the raw, unaltered press releases sent out daily by news organizations associated with scientific research institutes across the country and the world. This web site is an excellent source for up-to-the-minute published research, but you should approach with caution. Remember, the content is not reported or edited but is the sole opinion of the public realtions person who wrote it. View with a critical eye.
- National Geographic Magazine: Nat Geo is an icon. Who at “my age” did not grow up in a home with at least one bookshelf graced by the yellow binding of this 121-year old institution? The stories are beautifully written and the photography unmatched. NatGeo doesn’t spend much time on the “hard” sciences but more on people, culture, archeology, and anthropology. I spent hours poring over this magazine growing up.
- Natural History: The American Museum of Natural History is among the most famous and most inspiring museums in the world. Its magazine, Natural History, possesses many of the same qualities of its host: stunning visuals and engaging text that makes you feel as though you have just experienced an exhibit right in your living room. Like NatGeo, Natural History focuses on culture and people – a nice break from the hard stuff once in a while.
- Discover Magazine: A pretty good place to start if you want to know what’s what in the world of “science, technology and the future.” A broad array of topics covered that are scientifically sound as well as entertaining without coming across as sensationalistic.
- Science News: Don’t have much time? Then Science News is the science magazine for you. Published by the Society for Science and the Public, this bi-weekly will keep you current on all sorts of important science-y stuff. Stuff it in your briefcase and read it on the subway. Smart guys will respect you.
- Sky and Telescope: Who doesn’t love space science? OK, well I know it is not for everyone, but if you are fascinated by the sun, the moon, stars and planets and you actually own a telescope (or wish you did), read this magazine. There are lots of how-to guides to get you outside and looking up.
- Scientifc American: SciAm is practically tied with Discover for the types of stories they cover and its style. I used to like this magazine more in the “olden days”, when it was heftier and its content more challenging – or maybe I knew less then. This magazine’s strength, however, is its fearless approach to cover math and physics more than most other science-oriented magazines. In addition, SciAm is older than NatGeo and boasts a cadre of past writers such as Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and Francis Crick. I have to give credit where it is due.
- New York Times Science Section: One of the last remaining newspaper science sections, which runs each Tuesday. Always well written and insightful, timely and usually ahead of the crowd in the topics they cover. What would you expect?
- New Scientist: This magazine, like the others, is written for a general audience, but something about it doesn’t quite feel that way. I can’t put my finger on it, but the magazine just feels smarter. When I read New Scientist, I sometimes have the impression as though I am reading the lecture notes from a really good professor, one who knows how to take you by the hand and lead you through the complexities of a subject without dumbing it down. Good stuff.
- Seed: Hands down, Seed is my favorite science magazine, probably ever. Seed goes beyond merely reporting about science but helps you understand it in its global context. Its content is not limited by scientific disciplines but reaches out into policy, culture, theory and speculation about the future. If you read a few issues, you will very quickly be so informed on the most important ideas surrounding science and society that people may wonder when you had time to earn your PhD. It is that awesome. And even more awesome is Seed’s efforts to collect for you a list of the best of the best blogs out there in cyberspace, which are aggregated on its Science Blogs website. Consider it sort of a peer-reviewed, vetted list of science blogs with super high quality content.