New Scientist, first published on 22 November 1956, is a weekly English-language magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. Based in London, it publishes editions in the UK, the United States, and Australia. Since 1996 it has been available online.
Sold in retail outlets (paper edition) and on subscription (paper and/or online), the magazine covers news, features, reviews and commentary on science, technology and their implications. New Scientist also publishes speculative articles, ranging from the technical to the philosophical.
The magazine was founded in 1956 by Tom Margerison, Max Raison and Nicholas Harrison as The New Scientist, with Issue 1 on 22 November 1956, priced one shilling (twentieth of a pound, pre-decimalisation in UK; £1.26 today). An article in the magazine’s 10th anniversary issues provides anecdotes on the founding of the magazine. The British monthly science magazine Science Journal, published from 1965 until 1971, was merged with New Scientist to form New Scientist and Science Journal. In 1970, the Reed Group, which went on to become Reed Elsevier, acquired New Scientist when it merged with IPC Magazines. Reed retained the magazine when it sold most of its consumer titles in a management buyout to what is now TI Media. In April 2017, New Scientist changed hands when RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, sold the magazine to Kingston Acquisitions, a group set up by Sir Bernard Gray, Louise Rogers and Matthew O’Sullivan to acquire New Scientist. Kingston Acquisitions then renamed itself New Scientist Ltd.
Originally, the cover of New Scientist listed articles in plain text. Initially, page numbering followed academic practice with sequential numbering for each quarterly volume. So, for example, the first page of an issue in March could be 649 instead of 1. Later issues numbered issues separately. From the beginning of 1961 “The” was dropped from the title. From 1965, the front cover was illustrated. Until the 1970s, colour was not used except for on the cover.
Since its first issue, New Scientist has written about the applications of science, through its coverage of technology. For example, the first issue included an article “Where next from Calder Hall?” on the future of nuclear power in the UK, a topic that it has covered throughout its history. In 1964 there was a regular “Science in British Industry” section with several items.