The Vermont Cynic

Web publication to make STEM more accessible

Gordon Coates, Staff Writer

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Anyone who has read and enjoyed a research paper probably wrote it.

Communicating science effectively and beautifully is an issue that has plagued scientists since the creation of the research paper.  “The Natural Philosopher,” a student-run online STEM publication, addresses this issue. Gordon Coates

“Science doesn’t do anything if it’s kept just for the scientific elite,” editor Nick Fontaine, a senior, said. Information remains in niche groups of scientists and does not make it to public understanding.

“The Natural Philosopher” was founded in 2017 by Caleb Winn ‘18. The mission of the monthly publication is to improve scientific literacy, according to its website.

“Communication is such a critical skill and a critical part of science and no one is doing it well enough,” junior co-president, Avery St. Sauveur said.

At their weekly 6:30 p.m. Wednesday meetings in Jeffords Hall, the team of editors work one-on-one with the writers to craft the best pieces possible.

“Our goal is to make primary scientific literature available to everyone no matter their educational background,” St. Sauveur said.

She added that in “The Natural Philosopher,” students are encouraged to connect with what they are reading and employ emotion while condensing scientific papers and citing sources properly.

All of the articles are spawned from some piece of peer-reviewed literature, but they can be about any topic within the month’s theme. The last publication was on the science of climate change and how it affects humans and the planet.

Anyone from any background is welcome to write or create art for the publication, junior Riley O’Halloran said.

“This year we really just wanted to get everyone,” she said.

Winn is happy to see the publication has continued after his graduation.

“One of our huge goals was to not have it stop at UVM,” Winn said.

Along with many of the articles is a piece of student artwork. They range from hand drawn pictures to Adobe Illustrator images.

All the art and articles can be found on the publication’s website, thenatphil.com.

It is simple, professional, intuitive and reaches people all the way to Washington State, St. Sauveur said.

Students interested in writing for the publication should should the editors at their meetings at 6:30 every Wednesday.

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Web publication to make STEM more accessible