When reading Science News is the habit of a lifetime

On November 8, we welcomed a visitor to the Science News office in Washington, D.C. Kevin W. Parker brought with him a faded copy of the Nov. 8, 1969 issue of Science News — his first issue in what is now a 50-year-plus habit of reading our magazine to keep up with the latest developments in science, technology and medicine.

I was delighted to meet Parker and eager to hear how this habit began. It turns out that his mom, a librarian, noticed her son’s fascination with astronomy and space exploration, and got him his own subscription. He was 11 years old. Science News accompanied him through high school and college, and on to work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where he’s a software engineer.

“In my younger days, I mainly used [the magazine] to keep up with the space program and as an invaluable resource for school papers and reports,” Parker said. Now, “I use it to keep me informed on science in general, as well as the accomplishments of missions I’ve worked on in the past.” Those include landmark NASA efforts such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Kevin W. Parker
Kevin W. Parker (middle) holds his first issue of Science News magazine. He visited with the newsroom staff on November 8, 2019.SSP

Since our founding in 1921 by newspaper magnate E.W. Scripps and scientist W.E. Ritter, our mission has been to help the public stay informed of scientific advances. For me, Parker epitomizes our success in that mission. I’ve met other people — including at least one Science News staff member — who say they were introduced to the magazine in their youth by a family member or teacher. Even if our magazine didn’t shape your career, I hope it’s been an enlightening and enjoyable source of timely, accurate news.

If you’re also a longtime subscriber like Parker or Mary Stroh-Twichell, who recently told us she began subscribing as a college student in 1968, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us at feedback@sciencenews.org. And if getting Science News into the hands of more young people sounds like a good idea, please consider sponsoring a school through our Science News in High Schools program. For $500, a school gets 10 copies of each issue during the academic year, plus teacher resources and full access to our archives. Who knows, you may help inspire the next Kevin Parker.

Nancy Shute is editor in chief of Science News Media Group. Previously, she was an editor at NPR and US News & World Report, and a contributor to National Geographic and Scientific American. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers.