WEDNESDAY, 3 OCTOBER 2012
Back in 2003, a series of discussions between a small group of like-minded Cambridge scientists and science students resulted in the idea of producing a termly science magazine. Reflecting a growing feeling that conversations about science and scientific events deserved more attention, this group hoped to explore the potential of science communication within the university. At a similar time, Cambridge University Science Publications (CUSP) had been set up for Cambridge scientists interested in talking to the public about their work and science in general. The two groups combined forces, and friendships, to create BlueSci.
Originally, CUSP’s focus was on creating short science films and producing a show on Cambridge University radio. With the creation of BlueSci, and the enthusiastic team that quickly grew up around the magazine, its main activities shifted to the printed form. At this time, CUSPs goals were two-fold. Firstly, the magazine provided a regular forum for connecting those interested in science and science events in Cambridge, countering the isolation sometimes caused by the college and departmental systems. Secondly, BlueSci and CUSP afforded anyone interested in gaining practical experience of science communication an opportunity to write, edit and learn the tasks involved in putting together regular content.
BlueSci was the first university-based, student-run popular science magazine. Since the first issue went out in Michaelmas 2004 there have been a series of evolutionary changes: BlueSci is now the common name for all CUSP ventures which, in addition to this magazine, now includes an active web presence as well as events, and a revival of radio and filmmaking activities. Yet one thing remains unchanged; we are still dedicated to sharing science in an exciting and engaging way with as large an audience as possible, offering online editions and subscriptions for those outside Cambridge.
BlueSci is proud to have built a strong reputation amongst science journalists and journal editors, with a history of producing experienced and enthusiastic alumni. We have also been involved in spreading the word and helping to start similar groups at other universities including EUSci in Edinburgh. Students are now contributing to science magazines at institutions all around the world and are excited by the changes that this has brought to the academic view of science communication and the standard of popular science writing and broadcasting. We are happy to have been able to meet up with our sister magazines recently at a conference organised by the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) and hope to have inspired additional new student science magazines in other universities across the UK.
I am still astounded to be writing in our 25th Issue, having first encountered Issue 3 of BlueSci as a prospective applicant in 2005. For the current generation of science students in Cambridge, BlueSci has been ever present in tearooms and combination rooms throughout the university. Yet, even after more than eight years, BlueSci only comes together each term through the hard work and dedication of a fantastic team of volunteers; our writers, editors and producers. In particular, many thanks are owed to Managing Editor, Tom Bishop, whose vision has been integral to BlueSci throughout the last year. He and Issue Editor, Nicola Love, have brought together a fantastic celebratory issue bringing featuring some old elements that haven’t been seen in BlueSci for several issues, as well as some brand new sections especially for the 25th Issue.
Without the much appreciated help of Varsity Publications it would have been much harder for BlueSci to get started and we are still proud to be a part of the student newspaper group that first reported such significant discoveries as the structure of DNA in 1953. Finally, the support of our numerous financial supporters including the university schools & departments, CSaP (Centre for Science and Policy), Science, Nature Publishing Group and Equinox Graphics ensure that we can continue to produce BlueSci in the full colour, high quality form for which it is known.
I hope you will enjoy this exciting new issue and will feel inspired to get involved in science communications.
Jonathan Lawson, BlueSci President 2012