Our Name & Mission
The name Undark arises from a murky, century-old mingling of science and commerce — one that resulted in a radium-based industrial and consumer product, called Undark, that was both awe-inspiring and, as scientists would only later prove, toxic and deadly. We appropriate the name as a signal to readers that our magazine will explore science not just as a “gee-whiz” phenomenon, but as a frequently wondrous, sometimes contentious, and occasionally troubling byproduct of human culture.
As such, the intersection of science and society — the place where science is articulated in our politics and our economics; or where it is made potent and real in our everyday lives — is a fundamental part of our mission at Undark. As journalists, we recognize that science can often be politically, economically and ethically fraught, even as it captures the imagination and showcases the astonishing scope of human endeavor. Undark will therefore aim to explore science in both light and shadow, and to bring that exploration to a broad, international audience.
Undark is not interested in “science communication” or related euphemisms, but in true journalistic coverage of the sciences.
Honors and Awards
Undark’s journalism has been anthologized in the “Best American Science and Nature Writing” book series, and our work is routinely republished by some of the world’s most respected media outlets, including The Atlantic, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Time, Newsweek, NPR, Quartz, Salon, and Slate. Read more about republishing here.
The journalism produced by Undark and its contributors has also been honored with numerous awards. Among these are the 2018 George Polk Award for Environmental Journalism; the 2019 Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award; the 2017 Endocrine Society Award for Excellence in Science and Medical Journalism; and the 2018 NIHCM Digital Media Award. In addition, our work has been recognized with prizes and honors by numerous journalism organizations, including the Society for Environmental Journalists, the Association of Heath Care Journalists, the National Association of Science Writers, and the Online News Association.
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