A Note to Readers

Simons Science News Is Renamed Quanta Magazine

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Quanta Magazine. Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is the same editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “light quanta.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.”

Our reporters focus on developments in mathematics, theoretical physics, theoretical computer science and the basic life sciences. Mainstream news organizations do excellent reporting on developments in health, medicine, technology and engineering. We strive to complement existing coverage, not compete with it.

Our work often resembles journalistic alchemy — we mash together the complexities of science with the malleable art of storytelling in an attempt to forge a precious new alloy. It can be a mind-bending enterprise, but we relish the challenge. Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute, once likened trying to tackle such complexities to puzzling over a math problem: “If you try to take it on head-on, you usually can’t make progress. … You keep struggling with it, and eventually the structure of the problem becomes clear, and then the path through it becomes clear.”

At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. Our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked. And having editorial independence ensures that our coverage is impartial — the articles do not reflect or represent the views of the Simons Foundation. We changed our name to make this independence apparent to new visitors.

Our most popular article to date detailed the story of an unknown math lecturer, Yitang Zhang, who made an enormous advance in a centuries-old problem called the twin primes conjecture. The piece provided details about the mathematician’s improbable journey (unable to find work in academia, he worked in a Subway sandwich shop at one point) while also delving into the math behind the conjecture and the breakthrough. Its popularity highlights the public’s appetite for mathematics coverage — the article was so widely shared across social media that it overloaded our servers.

To reach a wider audience, we have syndication partnerships with ScientificAmerican.com and Wired.com, which we allow to reprint our articles at no cost. We want everyone to keep reading. And, according to a top editor at Scientific American, the inclusion of one of our stories in the August 2013 issue represents the first time in the print magazine’s 168-year history that it has published an article developed by a nonprofit public interest publication.

We hope you like the new design and features on QuantaMagazine.org. In addition to creating a more visually appealing layout and adding a touch of orange, we’ve included a Most Viewed list in the right-hand column below the top stories, along with a masthead that makes it easier to contact Quanta editors and reporters via e-mail or Twitter. To find articles about a specific topic, try the Topics tab on the Most Viewed widget, click the labels above article headlines or use the search bar. On article pages, we’ve made it easier to share the news, navigate to the next or previous article, and respond to comments submitted by other readers.

Thank you for your interest in Quanta Magazine. We invite you to explore our pages and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sincerely Yours,

Thomas Lin
Editor in Chief

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  • I love your new look, love the new name, and look forward to your informative and well written science articles. You supply a much needed source for science and math news and analysis.

  • “Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.”.
    “Quanta” is not nearly as illuminating as the Latin “Lux” from the Latin “Et lux perpetua luceat eis”
    (may the eternal light illuminate you), this coming from a Brooklyn jew, or Photon or Light.
    After all there are lots of quanta, some do no illumination whatsoever! Like the Higgs-boson!
    But I guess you wanted a short sweet English word so quanta is good enough.

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