is an American science magazine
Science Magazine was a half-hour television show produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1975 to 1979.The show was hosted by geneticist David Suzuki, who previously hosted the daytime youth programme Suzuki On Science...
that publishes articles about science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...
for a general audience. The monthly magazine was launched in October 1980 by Time Inc
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...
. It was sold to Family Media, the owners of Health
Health is an American magazine focused on women's health. It was purchased by Time Inc. in 1991. The company now operates as a part of Time's Southern Progress Corporation. The magazine's topics range from diet and recipes to fashion tips and dealing with life issues such as stress...
, in 1987. Walt Disney Company bought the magazine when Family Media went out of business in 1991. In October 2005 Discover
was sold to two media investment companies. Bob Guccione, Jr.
Robert Charles Guccione, Jr. is the eldest son of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. He is best known for founding music magazine Spin.-Publishing career:...
, founder of Spin
Gear was an English language lad's mag published by Bob Guccione, Jr. in the United Kingdom devoted chiefly to revealing pictorials of popular singers, B-movie actresses, and models, along with articles on gadgets, cars, fashion, guy tales of sex, and sports.Gear debuted in September 1998, with...
magazines, served as CEO for the first two years, followed by Henry Donahue. It was sold to Kalmbach Publishing
Kalmbach Publishing Co. is an American publisher of books and magazines, many of them railroad-related. It is now located in nearby Waukesha, Wisconsin...
in 2010, and the current editor-in-chief is Corey S. Powell.
was originally launched into a burgeoning market for science magazines aimed at educated non-professionals, intended to be somewhat easier to read than Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...
but more detailed and science-oriented than magazines like Popular Science
Popular Science is an American monthly magazine founded in 1872 carrying articles for the general reader on science and technology subjects. Popular Science has won over 58 awards, including the ASME awards for its journalistic excellence in both 2003 and 2004...
. Shortly after Discover
was launched, the AAAS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...
launched a similar magazine, Science 80
, (not to be confused with their similarly named journal
Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is one of the world's top scientific journals....
), and both Science News
Science News is an American bi-weekly magazine devoted to short articles about new scientific and technical developments, typically gleaned from recent scientific and technical journals. Science News has been published since 1922 by Society for Science & the Public, a non-profit organization...
and Science Digest
Science Digest was a monthly American magazine published by the Hearst Corporation from 1937 through 1986. It initially had an 8 x 5 inch format with about 100 pages, and was targeted at persons with a high school education level...
changed their formats to follow the new trend.
During this period, Discover
was a fairly in-depth science news magazine. Stories tended to be on "hard science" topics, and avoided fringe topics such as ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence). Most issues contained an in-depth essay by a well-known scientist, such as Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....
, Jared Diamond
Jared Mason Diamond is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA...
, or Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...
. Another common article was a biography, often linked with mentions of other scientists working in the field. One column, "Skeptical Eye," attempted to uncover various scams and flim-flam in the popular science world, and was the medium for James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...
to release his Project Alpha
Project Alpha was an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the stage magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved planting two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a paranormal research project. During the initial stages of the investigation, the researchers came to believe that the...
results. It was the most-read section of the magazine when it was first launched, according to its editor, Leon Jaroff.
was left largely alone in its market space by the mid-1980s, but nevertheless decided to appeal to a wider audience, including more articles on psychology and psychiatry. Jaroff, who had been managing editor for four and a half years, told the editor-in-chief that these were not "solid sciences", was sent back to Discovers parent,
Time. "Skeptical Eye" and other columns disappeared, and articles covered more controversial, speculative topics like "How the Universe Will End". This change in format appears to have been a great success, and the new format remained largely unchanged for the next two decades. The magazine changed hands a few times, landing at Disney until 2005 when Bob Guccione, Jr purchased the magazine with private equity partners.
The April 2006 issue saw the introduction of a new design and new monthly columns (see Content). In 2007, Guccione was ousted as CEO, in what was described by the New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...
as "a falling-out over philosophical differences with his financial backers about how to run the company." Henry Donahue, Discover Media's chief financial officer, became the new CEO. In 2008, he also assumed the role of publisher for the magazine. Corey Powell, the magazine's executive editor, became
Discovers new editor-in-chief later that year.
As of April 2009, the magazine will publish combined issues in January/February and July/August. These double issues will count as two issues each.
had a tradition of running one fake article in its April edition as an April Fool's joke. The articles were often so outrageous that they were hard to miss, yet the next month's issue frequently contained angry letters from readers who felt misled or quoted bad science. Examples have included the discovery of the "Bigon" http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1511/is_n4_v17/ai_18107914 http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/comments/891
(a subatomic particle the size of a bowling ball) and of the "Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer
The Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer is a fictional animal invented by Discover magazine as an April Fool's Day joke.A short article on the Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer first appeared in the April, 1995 issue of Discover magazine. The article was written by Tim Folger, then an editor at the magazine...
" (an Antarctic predator resembling a Naked Mole Rat that burrows through ice). Although the magazine stopped publishing new April Fool stories years ago, readers continue to inquire about them. See fictitious entry
Fictitious entries, also known as fake entries, Mountweazels, ghost word and nihil articles, are deliberately incorrect entries or articles in reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and directories. Entries in reference works normally originate from a reliable external source,...
Monthly departments include:
- Data (science news)
- Sliced (article slicing the different parts of an object)
- Vital Signs (real stories of health and medicine)
- Field Notes (science in progress)
- The Brain (neurological science)
- Hot Science (books, films, museums, gizmos,and T.V reviews)
- The Discover Interview (an interview with a famous/influential person)
- 5 Questions For... (mini-profile of a young researcher)
- What is This? (an odd looking picture asking the question "what is this?")
- 20 Things You Didn't Know About...
Recent features have included articles on genetics, astronomy, energy, archaeology, physics, conservation, and psychology. The magazine's website includes additional content and science-oriented blogs.
website includes a collection of blogs related to science.
- Bad Astronomy
- Cosmic Variance
Cosmic Variance is a collaborative weblog discussing physics, astrophysics, and other topics, written by , Mark Trodden, Sean Carroll, , Julianne Dalcanton, , and . It is the successor to Carroll's earlier blog , which began in early 2004 and ran through much of 2005...
- The Loom
Carl Zimmer is a popular science writer and blogger, especially regarding the study of evolution and parasites. He has written several books and contributes science essays to publications such as The New York Times and Discover...
- Not Exactly Rocket Science
- Science Not Fiction
- 80 Beats
- Reality Base
Melissa Lafsky is an American writer who is known as the author of the blog, which formerly focused on the dehumanizing aspects of law firms. - Education and legal career :...
Several of these blogs—Bad Astronomy, Cosmic Variance, and The Loom—existed on other sites before moving to Discover