It's a tough business environment out there for magazines, but the editors of Nautilus aren't going to let that stop them. The new science magazine launched April 29 with initial funding from the Templeton Foundation. Each quarterly issue, available in print and online, will tackle a different topic, starting with the inaugural theme of "What Makes You So Special?"
Founder and publisher John Steele told The New York Times that his vision of the magazine is "a New Yorker version of Scientific American." Steele said he took his inspiration for the name from both the mollusk with its mathematically mesmerizing shell and the submarine from Jules Verne's classic novel, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
"The nautilus is so steeped in math and myth and story, from Verne to the Golden Mean to the spectacular sea creature itself, that it seemed a fitting namesake for the idea of connecting and illuminating science," he said.
Most issues — all of which will focus on a single theme — will be rolled out online over time, but the three "chapters" of the first issue all went up together at the end of April. The issue includes articles on bioengineering, astronomy, primatology, theology, neurology and culture, as well as a science-fiction story by Russian author Mike Gelprin, marking his first publication in English.
The publication is lavishly illustrated, including some animation, and also includes video interviews with astronomer Caleb Scharf and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman.
The quarterly print edition of the magazine will launch in September, with a hefty $49 subscription price. Steele says he hopes for 5,000 subscribers to start. He told Folio that Nautilus will also be available through the iTunes store and as Amazon Kindle singles. The magazine is fully funded for two years but will need to develop its business model to continue beyond that point.
Nautilus also has a blog, already fairly active, that addresses science topics outside of the regular themes for each issue.
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