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Discover magazine

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Discover magazine

"Discover Magazine" redirects here. For the television show of the same name, see Discover Magazine (TV series).

File:Discover jan 2005.jpg
January 2005 issue of Discover
Editor Corey S. Powell
Categories Science
Frequency 10 per year
Total circulation
(December 2012)
First issue 1980
Company Kalmbach Publishing
Country United States
Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin
Language English
ISSN 0274-7529

Discover is an American science magazine that publishes articles about science for a general audience. The monthly magazine was launched in October 1980 by Time Inc. It was sold to Family Media, the owners of Health, in 1987. The Walt Disney Company bought the magazine when Family Media went out of business in 1991. In October 2005 Discover was sold to two media investment companies. Bob Guccione, Jr., founder of Spin and Gear magazines, served as CEO for the first two years, followed by Henry Donahue. It was sold to Kalmbach Publishing in 2010, and the current editor-in-chief as of December 2012 is Stephen C. George.


Discover was originally launched into a burgeoning market for science magazines aimed at educated non-professionals, intended to be somewhat easier to read than Scientific American but more detailed and science-oriented than magazines like Popular Science.[2] Shortly after Discover was launched, the AAAS launched a similar magazine, Science 80 (not to be confused with their similarly named journal), and both Science News and Science Digest changed their formats to follow the new trend.

During this period, Discover was a fairly in-depth science news magazine. Stories tended to be on "hard science" topics, and avoided fringe topics such as ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence). Most issues contained an in-depth essay by a well-known scientist, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond, or Stephen Hawking. Another common article was a biography, often linked with mentions of other scientists working in the field. One column, "Skeptical Eye," attempted to uncover various scams and flim-flam in the popular science world, and was the medium for James Randi to release his Project Alpha results. It was the most-read section of the magazine when it was first launched, according to its editor, Leon Jaroff.[2]

Discover was left largely alone in its market space by the mid-1980s, but nevertheless decided to appeal to a wider audience, including more articles on psychology and psychiatry. Jaroff, who had been managing editor for four and a half years, told the editor-in-chief that these were not "solid sciences", was sent back to Discover's parent, Time.[3] "Skeptical Eye" and other columns disappeared, and articles covered more controversial, speculative topics like "How the Universe Will End". This change in format appears to have been a great success, and the new format remained largely unchanged for the next two decades. The magazine changed hands a few times, landing at Disney until 2005 when Bob Guccione, Jr.[4] purchased the magazine with private equity partners.

The April 2006 issue saw the introduction of a new design and new monthly columns (see Content). In 2007, Guccione was ousted as CEO, in what was described by the New York Post as "a falling-out over philosophical differences with his financial backers about how to run the company."[5] Henry Donahue, Discover Media's chief financial officer, became the new CEO. In 2008, he also assumed the role of publisher for the magazine. Corey Powell, the magazine's executive editor, became Discover's new editor-in-chief later that year.

As of April 2009, the magazine will publish combined issues in January/February and July/August. These double issues will count as two issues each.


Discover had a tradition of running one fake article in its April edition as an fictitious entry.


Monthly departments include:

  • Data (science news)
  • Sliced (article slicing the different parts of an object)
  • Vital Signs (real stories of health and medicine)
  • Field Notes (science in progress)
  • The Brain (neurological science)
  • Hot Science (books, films, museums, gizmos,and T.V reviews)
  • The Discover Interview (an interview with a famous/influential person)
  • 5 Questions For... (mini-profile of a young researcher)
  • What is This? (an odd-looking picture asking the question "what is this?")
  • 20 Things You Didn't Know About...

Recent features have included articles on genetics, astronomy, energy, archaeology, physics, conservation, and psychology. The magazine's website includes additional content and science-oriented blogs.

Blog Portal

The Discover website includes a collection of blogs related to science.

Several of these blogs existed on other sites before moving to Discover.

See also


External links

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