New Science Magazine

It’s called Science Illustrated and should not be confused with a magazine that was published by McGraw-Hill from about 1946 to 1949 and sold for 25 cents an issue. The present incarnation of Science Illustrated is published by the Swedish Bonnier Group and is essentially a translation of a Scandinavian science magazine. Bonnier also publishes Popular Science in the United States, and the magazine is produced by the staff of Popular Science.

Bonnier publishes Science Illustrated in all the Scandinavian languages and in Dutch. In addition, they permit five licensed editions in Greek, Latvian, Lithuanian, Icelandic, and now, with the US edition, English. Science Illustrated is the best-selling magazine in Scandinavia. The US edition is entirely or almost entirely a translation of the Danish edition. The content, however, is substantially less, because the US edition will begin with 6 issues per year, as opposed to 18 in Scandinavia and 12 in the other European countries.

I finally got hold of the first two issues, January-February and March-April, as well as the December issue of the Danish edition. The magazine is big, colorful, and well-illustrated. It has a long section of short subjects, including “Science Update” and “Ask Us,” which may consist of questions submitted by readers. The March-April issue has a number of longish articles concerning the possible extinction of penguins, the danger to artificial satellites of all the orbiting junk, the redating of the eruption of the volcano Thera, teaching orangutans to live in the wild, high-tech piracy, advances in fluorescence microscopy of biological specimens, and more. The level of the text is about that of Discover, but (although I made no direct comparison), I had the impression that Science Illustrated has more illustrations and photographs. In the sections of short subjects, however, some of the pages are very busy and might drive some readers to distraction. In addition, sometimes, when they print white letters on a black background, the ink bleeds into the letters, and the text is hard to read.

An editor in Copenhagen asked me to supply a photograph for an article on intelligent-design creationism. That article appeared in the December issue of the Scandinavian editions. Much of that issue is reproduced in the March-April issue of the US edition, but the article on intelligent-design creationism is not to be found. Evidently, they are waiting to see “the reaction” to the US edition. I could not find any future tables of contents (or anything much else about the magazine) on the Bonnier Group’s website, but I frankly hope that they do not chicken out and purge that article from the US edition.