Undark is a non-profit, editorially independent digital magazine exploring the intersection of science and society. It is published with generous funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, through its Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT.
For full staff and advisory board profiles, please visit the Meet Our Team page.
Undark was co-founded in 2016, under the auspices of the Knight Science Journalism Program, by journalists Deborah Blum and Tom Zeller Jr. Today, it is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and is managed by a small, dedicated, and widely distributed team of editors, writers, and support personnel.
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 accolades and awards, including being named a 2022 National Magazine Award finalist in the Reporting category. Undark was also the recipient of 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.
Charles M. Blow, Raychelle Burks, Dan Fagin, Felice Frankel, David Kaiser, Alan Lightman, Melissa Nobles, David Quammen, Mary Roach, Phillip Sharp, Rebecca Skloot, George Whitesides, Carl Zimmer
Support Undark Magazine
Undark is a non-profit, editorially independent magazine covering the complicated and often fractious intersection of science and society. If you would like to help support our journalism, please consider making a donation. All proceeds go directly to Undark’s editorial fund.
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