On May 2, Quanta Magazine reintroduced itself to science and math explorers by unveiling its new logo and a redesigned website. Although the new site reflects the growth of its editorial offerings and brand, Quanta remains one of a kind.
From its inception, the magazine has used deep reporting, well-crafted narratives and elegant visuals to cover the often underreported issues and outcomes at the cutting edge of scientific and mathematical exploration.
Quanta’s business model — it is funded by the Simons Foundation, from which it is editorially independent — enables it to cover mathematics and the ‘basic,’ or ‘pure,’ sciences in depth, something few mainstream publications are able to do. It is one of the new breed of privately funded yet journalistically independent media outlets that are immune to the vagaries of advertisers and politics, and which strive to use that advantage to consistently and responsibly enlighten the public.
Since its launch in 2013 as Quanta, the site has attracted a loyal and rapidly growing audience — it had over 3 million visitors in 2016. And it has expanded its editorial offerings beyond its core news articles and features to include columns, blog posts, videos, interactives, puzzles and podcasts.
Quanta has partnered with major media outlets such as Wired and The Atlantic to help expand their science coverage. Syndication of Quanta articles has enabled these and several other popular publications — in English, German, Japanese, Spanish and other languages — to provide their readers with excellent coverage of math and science, free from paywalls. Quanta’s nonprofit-foundation-funded business model enables it to offer its content widely, at no cost, with only public service in mind.
Quanta’s rigor is undisputed: Even the scientific elite rely on it. “I regard the establishment of Quanta Magazine as the greatest thing to happen to science journalism in many years,” says David Gross, a Nobel-Prize-winning physicist and former director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.
“Quanta is my favorite science magazine,” says Sean Carroll, research professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and author of “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.”
“There is no place like it for in-depth, serious coverage of cutting-edge topics — especially for deep, penetrating analyses that other outlets might shy away from,” says Carroll. “It’s a unique resource that everybody who loves science should have at the top of their reading list.”
An award-winning team
Thomas Lin, formerly of The New York Times, launched Quanta with the help of the Simons Foundation, aiming to bring the most rigorous journalistic coverage possible to significant research outcomes in mathematics, physics, computer science and biology. As the magazine took off, he brought on board two long-time science editors: Michael Moyer, formerly of Scientific American, and, most recently, John Rennie, former editor-in-chief of Scientific American.
To date, three Quanta articles have been selected for the “Best Writing on Mathematics” anthologies, “A Proof That Some Spaces Can’t Be Cut,” by Kevin Hartnett; “Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow,” by Erica Klarreich; and, “At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law” by senior physics writer Natalie Wolchover.
Natalie Wolchover also received the 2016 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing’s annual prize for young science journalists, for four of her articles in Quanta, “Gravitational Waves Discovered at Long Last,” “The Quantum Secret to Superconductivity”, “Visions of Future Physics,” and “A Fight for the Soul of Science.”
Quanta partnered with designers at Belgium-based DogStudio, developers at New-York-based Barrel and strategists at Atlantic Media Strategies to reimagine and reinvent its website, logo and brand story.
The new site dovetails aesthetically and technologically with modern user needs and expectations. It renders beautifully across devices and platforms, and related content is more seamlessly integrated. Users will find it easier to share Quanta’s stories on social media, to engage in conversations on the site and to search for specific content.
Editors have been given new tools to highlight the best bits of information for site users, and, in turn, users now have tools to curate personalized reading lists.
“While our commitment to incisive, accurate reporting remains the same, this is a complete reimagining of the Quanta experience,” Lin says. “Staying informed about the biggest mysteries in the universe need not feel like falling into a black hole. It can be expansive, open and delightful.”