Finally, our 17th issue is out on campus. The release of any new publication always brings me an unsettling mixture of excitement, trepidation and relief. However, I’m also quietly confident that you’ll thoroughly enjoy this latest issue of I, Science. The theme of ‘Unseen Science’ has really allowed the team to produce some of their best content yet. We hope you agree!
We all take science for granted. As working scientists ourselves, we are even guiltier of ignoring the expanses of science that fall outside our small scope of specialist study.
There is science behind everything we do, literally everything, but we cannot possibly think about and process this level of detail in our every day lives. When you browse the Internet, do you constantly wonder how the depression of a plastic panel on your mouse activates a virtual command on your screen? Do you consider why you are able to breathe without consciously reminding yourself every time? When you casually scratch your head, do you wonder how many species of microfauna you are dislodging from your scalp?
It is only when something wildly unexpected happens, do we really think about more intricate technicalities behind an event. Whether you yield wildly unexpected results in the lab, or experience something as simple as a static shock, it is only then you’re likely to take a step back from things and actively think about exactly what’s going on that you didn’t anticipate in your state of every-day-alertness.
Issue 17, ‘Unseen Science’, of I, Science brings the spotlight of reason upon just a few of the things that go unnoticed everyday; from atoms we can only visualise through theory to the intangible science of sexual attraction.
Alongside our theme, we also managed to secure some exciting interviews for this issue. I’m quite worried we won’t be able to top this line-up for the next issue (but that’s a challenge for another day). Top of the billing features Sir Patrick Moore, astrophysicist and broadcasting legend (I use legend in the truest sense), and Lord Jenkin, Conservative peer and President of the Foundation for Science and Technology.
The other two interviews featured in issue 17 involve two scientists who are dispelling the harshest of stereotypes scientists are lumbered with; the boring, one-dimensional lab-monkey.
I, Science spoke to Dr Stephen Curry, a structural biologist at Imperial, who has become a little bit of an online celebrity through his blogging.
The highly-talented Anna Perman also caught up with Hayley Birch, one half of the brains behind Geek Pop, a virtual festival celebrating all things nerdy. Anna also covered this year’s festival’s launch event that happened last night. Check out her guest blog on this site.
For the first time in I, Science’s short but illustrious history, a complementary podcast has also been made for Issue 17. It has been released today alongside the magazine and you can listen to it here.
The concept for this issue stems further back than you think, and for the better too.
The initial idea for the issue theme was first brought in an open editorial meeting way back in September last year. However, it was pushed aside for a theme idea more developed at the time; you can see the realisation of this idea, ‘5 ways the world could end’, in issue 16. In hindsight, I’m quite glad we sat on the idea, because it allowed the editorial team to mull it over for a few months. Subsequently, the idea for an ‘unseen science’ issue was brought up once again in this issue’s first editorial meeting.
It’s a wonderful sight when you can see metaphorical light bulbs flashing above peoples’ heads across the room. Ideas are bouncing off the walls and sometimes it is actually quite hard to keep note of everything that is being proposed. Once the team, which includes sub-editors, graphic artists and new writers, have all settled on a theme for the issue, I’ve inevitably failed to keep track of the more intricate plans. So, we immediately send out an email to everyone on the I, Science mailing list (and not just the people at the meeting) summarising what we’ve discussed. Alongside that we ask for 100 word proposals for any feature or article ideas within the theme or otherwise.
We make sure that anyone can contribute to I, Science, as long as you’re a student at Imperial College. I, Science plays host to a number of undergraduates, masters and PhD students, and we’re always hoping more can join us for the next issue.
So if you’re suitably impressed with the issue out today, jump on board our nerdy ship! And if you take umbrage with something in this issue, or the entire issue itself, we always need pistol-wielding critics on the team to shoot down any flagging ideas. After all, debate is healthy and most often than not, produces the best outcome.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and whisper a few sweet nothings in our virtual ears. We’ll get right back to you, and let you know when the process for the third and final issue of this academic year is kicking off.
I, Science Issue 17, ‘Unseen Science’, can be found at all main Felix distribution stands on the South Kensington campus, or alternatively online on this website.