New Scientist
New Scientist cover, issue 3197, dated 29 September 2018
EditorCatherine de Lange
Total circulation
(2016 H2)
First issue22 November 1956 (67 years ago) (1956-11-22)
CompanyDaily Mail and General Trust
CountryUnited Kingdom

New Scientist is a popular science magazine covering all aspects of science and technology. Based in London, it publishes weekly English-language editions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. An editorially separate organisation publishes a monthly Dutch-language edition. First published on 22 November 1956, New Scientist has been available in online form since 1996.

Sold in retail outlets (paper edition) and on subscription (paper and/or online), the magazine covers news, features, reviews and commentary on science, technology and their implications. New Scientist also publishes speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical.

New Scientist was acquired by Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) in March 2021.[2]



The magazine was founded in 1956 by Tom Margerison, Max Raison and Nicholas Harrison[3] as The New Scientist, with Issue 1 on 22 November 1956, priced at one shilling[4] (a twentieth of a pound in pre-decimal UK currency; equivalent to £1.58 in 2023[5]). An article in the magazine's 10th anniversary issues provides anecdotes on the founding of the magazine.[3] The British monthly science magazine Science Journal, published from 1965 until 1971, was merged with New Scientist to form New Scientist and Science Journal.[6] In 1970, the Reed Group, which became Reed Elsevier, acquired New Scientist when it merged with IPC Magazines. Reed retained the magazine when it sold most of its consumer titles in a management buyout to what is now TI Media. In April 2017 New Scientist changed ownership when RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, sold the magazine to Kingston Acquisitions, a group established by Sir Bernard Gray, Louise Rogers and Matthew O'Sullivan to acquire New Scientist.[7][8] Kingston Acquisitions then renamed itself New Scientist Ltd. The New Scientist was subsequently sold to the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) for £70 million in March 2021; DMGT guaranteed the magazine's editorial independence, and ruled out staff cuts and the sharing of editorial content.[9]

In December 2021, DMGT announced that both New Scientist and the DMGT-owned daily i newspaper would be moved to a new division of the company, to be called Harmsworth Media.[10][11]

General history

Originally, the cover of New Scientist listed articles in plain text.[12] Initially, page numbering followed academic practice with sequential numbering for each quarterly volume. So, for example, the first page of an issue in March could be 649 instead of 1. Later issues numbered issues separately. From the beginning of 1961 "The" was dropped from the title. From 1965, the front cover was illustrated.[13] Until the 1970s, colour was not used except on the cover.

Since its first issue, New Scientist has written about the applications of science, through its coverage of technology. For example, the first issue included an article "Where next from Calder Hall?" on the future of nuclear power in the UK, a topic that it has covered throughout its history. In 1964, there was a regular "Science in British Industry" section with several items.[14]

Throughout most of its history, New Scientist has published cartoons as light relief and comment on the news, with contributions from regulars such as Mike Peyton and David Austin. The Grimbledon Down comic strip, by cartoonist Bill Tidy, appeared from 1970 to 1994. The Ariadne pages in New Scientist commented on the lighter side of science and technology and included contributions from David E. H. Jones, Daedalus. The fictitious inventor devised plausible but impractical and humorous inventions, often developed by the (fictitious) DREADCO corporation.[15] Daedalus later moved to Nature.

Issues of (The) New Scientist from issue 1 to the end of 1989 are free to read online;[16] subsequent issues require a subscription.[17]

In the first half of 2013, the international circulation of New Scientist averaged 125,172. While this was a 4.3% reduction on the previous year's figure, it was a much smaller reduction in circulation than many mainstream magazines of similar or greater circulation.[18] UK circulation fell by 3.2% in 2014, but stronger international sales increased the circulation to 129,585.[19]

A monthly Dutch edition of New Scientist was launched in June 2015. It replaced the former Natuurwetenschap & Techniek [nl] (NWT) magazine, adopting its staff and subscribers. The editorially independent magazine is published by Veen Media.[20][21] It contains mainly translations of articles in the English-language edition, but also its own articles. These are typically focused on research in the Netherlands and Belgium, the main countries where it is purchased.

Modern format

In the 21st century, until May 2019, New Scientist contained the following sections: Leader, News (Upfront), Technology, Opinion (interviews, point-of-view articles and letters), Features (including cover article), CultureLab (book and event reviews), Feedback (humour), The Last Word (questions and answers) and Jobs & Careers. A Tom Gauld cartoon appears on the Letters page.[22] A readers' letters section discusses recent articles and discussions also take place on the website. Readers contribute observations on examples of pseudoscience to Feedback, and offer questions and answers on scientific and technical topics to Last Word. New Scientist has produced a series of books compiled from contributions to Last Word.

From issue 3228 of 4 May 2019, New Scientist introduced a "slightly updated design, with ... a fresher, brighter feel". A dedicated "Views" section was added between news reports and in-depth features, including readers' letters, comment, and reviews on science, culture and society. Regular columnists were introduced, and columns in the culture pages. The light-hearted "Back Pages" includes the long-standing Feedback and The Last Word, puzzles, and a Q&A section.[23][24]

Online readership takes various forms. Overall global views of an online database of over 100,000 articles are 10.8m by 7m unique users according to Google Analytics, as of January 2019. On social media there are 3.5m+ Twitter followers, 3.5m+ Facebook followers and 100,000+ Instagram followers as of January 2019.[25]

Staff and contributors

Emily Wilson was appointed editor-in-chief in 2018.[26][27] Current staff members are listed on page 5 of the magazine. Columnists as of 4 May 2019 included Annalee Newitz on novel tech. James Wong on food myths, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein's adventures in space-time and Graham Lawton on environment.[23]

Editors of New Scientist


New Scientist has published books derived from its content, many of which are selected questions and answers from the "Last Word" section of the magazine and website:

Other books published by New Scientist include:

New Scientist has also worked with other publishers to produce books based on the magazine's content:

In 2012 Arc, "a new digital quarterly from the makers of New Scientist, exploring the future through the world of science fiction" and fact was launched.[29] In the same year the magazine launched a dating service, NewScientistConnect, operated by The Dating Lab.[citation needed]

Since 2016 New Scientist has held an annual science festival in London. Styled New Scientist Live, the event has attracted high-profile scientists and science presenters.[30]


Greg Egan's criticism of the EmDrive article

In September 2006, New Scientist was criticised by science fiction writer Greg Egan, who wrote that "a sensationalist bent and a lack of basic knowledge by its writers" was making the magazine's coverage sufficiently unreliable "to constitute a real threat to the public understanding of science". In particular, Egan found himself "gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy" in the magazine's coverage[31] of Roger Shawyer's "electromagnetic drive", where New Scientist allowed the publication of "meaningless double-talk" designed to bypass a fatal objection to Shawyer's proposed space drive, namely that it violates the law of conservation of momentum. Egan urged others to write to New Scientist and pressure the magazine to raise its standards, instead of "squandering the opportunity that the magazine's circulation and prestige provides".[32] The editor of New Scientist, then Jeremy Webb, replied defending the article, saying that it is "an ideas magazine—that means writing about hypotheses as well as theories".[33]

"Darwin was wrong" cover

In January 2009, New Scientist ran a cover with the title "Darwin was wrong".[34][35] The actual story stated that specific details of Darwin's evolution theory had been shown incorrectly, mainly the shape of phylogenetic trees of interrelated species, which should be represented as a web instead of a tree. Some evolutionary biologists who actively oppose the intelligent design movement thought the cover was both sensationalist and damaging to the scientific community.[35][36]

See also


  1. ^ "UK magazine ABCs: Winners, losers and full breakdown as circulation declines average 6 per cent". Press Gazette. 9 February 2017. Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Daily Mail owner buys New Scientist magazine in £70m deal". The Guardian. 3 March 2021. Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b Calder, Nigel (24 November 1966). "How New Scientist got started". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  4. ^ "The New Scientist (on Google Books)". New Scientist. Vol. 1, no. 1. 22 November 1956. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  5. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  6. ^ National Library of Australia Bib ID 2298705 Archived 2 September 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Dawson, Abigail (18 April 2017). "Reed Business Information sells New Scientist magazine". Mumbrella. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Relx offloads New Scientist magazine to Kingston Acquisitions". Financial Times. 12 April 2017. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  9. ^ Mark Sweeney (3 March 2021). "Daily Mail owner buys New Scientist magazine in £70m deal". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Harmsworth Media: i and New Scientist magazine launch new media division". i. 9 December 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Lord Rothermere splits off i and New Scientist from Mail and Metro in new Harmsworth Media division". Press Gazette. 9 December 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  12. ^ "The New Scientist (on Google Books)". New Scientist. Vol. 7, no. 164. 7 January 1960. Archived from the original on 2 January 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Back issues of New Scientist on Google Books". 22 November 1956. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  14. ^ "New Scientist (on Google Books)". New Scientist. Vol. 21, no. 382. 12 March 1964. Archived from the original on 2 January 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  15. ^ "New Scientist (on Google Books)". New Scientist. Vol. 77, no. 1086. 19 January 1978. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  16. ^ "New Scientist (on Google Books)". New Scientist. Vol. 124, no. 1696–1697. 23–30 December 1989. ISSN 0262-4079. Archived from the original on 23 March 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Browse New Scientist magazine (from 1990 until current issue)". Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Mag ABCs: Full circulation round-up for the first half of 2013". Press Gazette. 15 August 2013. Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  19. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (14 August 2014). "UK magazine combined print/digital sales figures for first half 2014: Complete breakdown". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Tijdschrift New Scientist naar Nederland". 26 February 2013. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  21. ^ "New Scientist – Dutch Edition". Archived from the original on 25 October 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  22. ^ New Scientist. Reed Business Information. 2014.
  23. ^ a b Emily Wilson (4 May 2019). "Introducing this week's new-look New Scientist magazine". New Scientist (3228): 3. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Sciencegarden Onlinemagazins für junge Forschung Deutschland". Archived from the original on 12 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Audience & Brand". New Scientist Media Centre. 2015. Archived from the original on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Who's who at New Scientist". Archived from the original on 4 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  27. ^ a b "New Scientist appoints Emily Wilson as first female editor". New Scientist. 31 January 2018. Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  28. ^ Ahmed, Mariam (19 December 2023). "New Scientist appoints de Lange editor". Vested LLC. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  29. ^ "Arc". Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  30. ^ "UCL academics presenting at New Scientist live". University College London. 27 September 2017. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  31. ^ Justin Mullins (8 September 2006). "Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels?". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008.
  32. ^ Baez, John C. (19 September 2006). "A Plea to Save New Scientist". The n-Category Café. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2006.
  33. ^ "Emdrive on trial". New Scientist. 3 October 2006. Archived from the original on 28 October 2006.
  34. ^ Graham Lawton (21 January 2009). "Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  35. ^ a b pharyngula (21 March 2009). "New Scientist flips the bird at scientists, again". ScienceBlogs. Archived from the original on 3 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  36. ^ Jerry Coyne (21 March 2009). "The New Scientist has no shame–again!". Why Evolution Is True. Archived from the original on 3 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  37. ^ Oberg, James (11 October 1979). "The Failure of the 'Science' of Ufology". New Scientist. Vol. 84, no. 1176. pp. 102–105.
  38. ^ Alter, Adam (2013). Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave. London: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-78074-264-9.