NEW YORK, May 28, 2020 — Quanta was one of four magazines to be awarded top honors tonight at the 2020 National Magazine Awards. During a livestreamed virtual ceremony, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced that editor-in-chief Thomas Lin and his staff had won the Ellie Award for General Excellence in Literature, Science and Politics. Judges cited Quanta‘s “willingness to tackle some of the toughest and most difficult topics in science and math in a language that is accessible to the lay reader without condescension or oversimplification.” The other General Excellence winners were The New York Times Magazine, Bon Appétit and The Hollywood Reporter.
“This was a big night for Quanta,” said Lin. “I’m over the moon that my staff, which is excellent in every way, is being recognized for its inspired science writing, editing and visual artistry.”
In the award entry, Lin credited his colleagues for their “fearless reporting on some of the most mind-bendingly complex subjects pressing against the boundaries of human knowledge.”
While the General Excellence award honors all aspects of a magazine, the stories submitted to ASME judges included a science feature on the possibility that global warming could lead to runaway cloud loss and a catastrophic climate feedback loop, written by senior writer Natalie Wolchover and edited by Lin; a math feature about an ambitious effort to rebuild mathematics minus the equal sign, written by senior writer Kevin Hartnett and edited by deputy editor Michael Moyer; a video from Quanta’s In Theory video series, about the simple diagrams invented by Richard Feynman that forever changed theoretical physics, directed by Emily Driscoll, animated by Mette Ilene Holmriis and produced by Michelle Yun; and a blog post on how a Turing pattern explains the distribution of toothlike protrusions that cover the skin of sharks, written by Jonathan Lambert and edited by deputy editor John Rennie.
“One of the delights of getting to work at Quanta is that we have the opportunity to cover these kinds of discoveries that reveal the scientific and mathematical principles that tie together all of nature,” said Rennie.
The entries were selected for submission based in part on their visual design and presentation. “We strive for visuals that communicate the awe, wonder and gravity of the research in our stories. It’s an absolute honor to receive recognition for every facet of our team’s work,” said art director Olena Shmahalo.
Last month, In Theory also received a New York Emmy Award and was named a finalist and official selection of the Raw Science Film Festival.