As a way of honing my science writing and editorial skills, and helping others do the same, I’ve recently taken over as editor of the Science section of The Moose magazine , which established itself as the University of Oslo’s first English-only magazine back in 2008.
The idea behind The Moose was for it to be a creative outlet made for - and by - students at an increasingly internationalised and diversifying institution. As with any student-led endeavour, the magazine’s fortunes waxed and waned with the coming and going of eager students, semester by semester and year by year, although for all the difficulties in recruiting regular writers, the magazine’s output has been admirably steady.
After something of a hiatus, as a core group of active writers and editors moved on to pastures new, the Moose is being revived with a new editorial team under the stewardship of Chief Editor Lalah Rukh, and, in move to produce more regular and contemporary content, an online only format. Exactly how things will work aren’t set in stone yet, but we’ve scaled the magazine back to four sections (Science, Culture & Creativity, Current Affair & Debate and Student Life), with the idea of having a continual turnover of articles and an overhaul of fresh content on the first of every month.
To help the magazine on its way and to help spread all our new and exciting content, there’s a new twitter account @TheMooseNO, which is the best way to find out about new articles, news and maybe get in touch if you have an idea. There’s also an open Facebook group where interested readers can join the conversation and discuss ideas about potential articles.
I am not a student but the idea of having me on board, and one of the things I would really like to do, is to provide some medium to long-term continuity so that the magazine can really establish itself. My remit for the science section is to publish articles on as wide a range of topics as possible and just make sure that they are scientifically accurate and interesting to read. More rules will likely come as I gain experience, but I think, as a start, those two general principles should stand me in good stead.
Since the official reboot on the 1st of May, articles have started trickling online in each of the sections. I’ve two articles up at the moment, but be assured, it is not my intention to use The Moose as a vehicle for my own scribblings – my rants will for the most part continue to stay confined to this blog; these are articles I submitted before I took over the editorial role.
The first is where I tried to mash my love of science writing, making fun of jargon and baking cakes: A low-culinary-knowledge threshold procedure for the production of
, for which artist Monica Ruiz Rituerto created the wonderfully quirky illustration.
of actors and actresses are really very cool. Working with wonderfully creative people in creating artwork for the articles is one of the things I am most looking forward to about the role, especially as I don't have an artistic bone in my body.The second article I have is a
Also up is an article on
by Canadian physics student, Andrew Cote, pits the scale of human experience against the vastness of space and time. Those who are quick to suffer bouts of cosmological vertigo should be forewarned - although the article does end with a decidedly optimistic (and pleasingly for me on a personal level) humanist message.
We struggled to find an illustrator for this article before it ‘went to press’, but I think
image, taken by Voyager 6 billion kilometres from Earth, and made famous by the wonderful Carl Sagan is a perfect fit.
The next article to go up will be on the physical laws which mean that whilst all snowflakes in the history of snowflakes are unique, they only ever have six-pointed symmetry. This will hopefully be the start of a regular set of articles where Magdalena Kersting explains the science behind every day phenomena. Next up: why the sky appears blue during the day and red/orange/pink at sunset.
So I just don't toot the Science section's horn, I would also highly recommended Lars Petter Johannessen’s examination of
, which pits its role as the giver of the Nobel Peace Prize against its frankly staggering involvement in the global arms market, and a quite lovely photo essay on
To be honest, I don’t really know what I’ve got myself into, but I’ve thrown myself into reading, editing, fact-checking and feedback articles as best I can. As people who might have read the odd thing I've written on this blog, proofreading is not one of my natural talents, but as with struggling to fiskebein with any kind of grace, or holding an intelligible conversation in Norwegian, I’ve adopted ‘learning by doing’ as my motto.
If you're a writer who loves communicating science and would like to contribute to The Moose just comment below or email me at
with your idea. The rules: submissions should be original articles in English, be between 500 and 1200 words, and written with your intelligent but non-scientific friend in mind.