I'm not often at a loss for words, but today's post leaves me a little flummoxed.
That's because, frankly, I've never encountered anything quite like the subject of today's post. Nautil.us is a new web magazine which takes a novel approach to nearly aspect of its existence.
At its core, Nautil.us is a magazine about science. Dig a little bit deeper, though, and you'll see undertones of poetry and a shadow of philosophy.
Throw in a brilliant design and a unique approach to the publishing model itself, and you've got something the likes of which the web has never seen before.
Open the magazine in your browser, and the first thing you'll notice is the striking design. In most cases, good design is invisible. Consequently, the more you notice a design, the poorer that design is.
Nautil.us, on the other hand, sets a distinct mood with its design. It creates an atmosphere of awe and wonder... and you haven't even delved into the content yet.
That's where things get interesting: the content. As I said, Nautil.us is a science magazine, but it's not your typical ho-hum scientific facts, tidbits, or articles. Take this piece in the preview issue, which uses an Oliver Wendell Homles, Sr. poem and a beautifully-animated video to convey the idea behind Nautil.us itself. Or this piece, a video exposé on Buddha and human uniqueness.
Nautil.us is not so much about science as it is about science's connection to the way we, as humans, live. It's about the intextricable link between what we call "science" and the fundamental truths of existence.
Editions are published in monthly issues, which focus on a single topic. That topic is then expanded upon in chapters, which are released every Thursday. Issue 001, for example, is entitled "What Makes You So Special," and contains three chapters: "Less Than You Think," "More Than You Imagine," and "Beyond Measure."
Each chapter contains numerous pieces which explore the given topic, so content is linked together by a common thread, telling a cohesive story. This, of course, is a departure from typical web content, which simply lists unrelated articles in reverse chronological order (the hallmark of the blog format).
Because of this approach, Nautil.us feels like the first web entity which brings a true magazine feel to the web.
As I said, Nautil.us is a science magazine, but calling it so is also a bit reductionist. In their own words:
We are here to tell you about science and its endless connections to our lives. Each month we choose a single topic. And each Thursday we publish a new chapter on that topic online. Each issue combines the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world’s leading thinkers and writers. We follow the story wherever it leads us. Read our essays, investigative reports, and blogs. Fiction, too. Take in our games, videos, and graphic stories. Stop in for a minute, or an hour. Nautilus lets science spill over its usual borders. We are science, connected.
Along with an impressive staff, Nautilus also boasts an intriguing Board of Advisors, which includes notables like Caleb Scharf, Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University, and Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in History of Science and Physics at Harvard University.
But enough chatter. I'll leave you to discover the wonder yourself (and don't forget to sign up for their superb newsletter).
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