Binghamton University’s evolutionary studies program has launched an online magazine that discusses new developments in the field.
Robert Kadar, a graduate student studying biological anthropology, said he came up with the idea to start the magazine “Evolution: This View of Life” to tie different fields of knowledge together like education, arts, biology, religion and health.
“The coolest thing is to approach anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective,” Kadar said. “I tried to find some of the big overarching sections of knowledge that are important to our daily lives.”
Kadar showed a model of the website to David Sloan Wilson, a distinguished professor of anthropology and biology, and he said Wilson was enthusiastic, wanted to help develop the site and then took on a leadership role.
“My role as editor-in-chief is to use my senior stature to help guide the magazine and insure its success,” Wilson said in an email to Pipe Dream.
Wilson and Kadar split the magazine into 11 sections, each of which focus on the influence of evolution in a specific discipline. The sections range from biology to politics to religion.
Wilson said he was able to use his professional connections to recruit experts from all over the world to edit each of the sections.
“I found them by contacting my colleagues in each subject area and asking for their suggestions until we found the right person,” Wilson said.
Hadassah Head, a graduate student studying systems science who is friendly with Kadar, said he approached her about working for the magazine as managing editor.
“I am a sucker for start-ups,” Head said. “I love being part of a core decision-making team and really involved in all the major decisions.”
Head said that after she joined the team, she worked with the Office of Creative Services at Binghamton University — the same design team that built the website for the BU publication, Inside Binghamton University — to help design the magazine’s website.
“They did layering and really made it pop,” Head said.
Feb. 12, the date the website launched, is also the birthday of Charles Darwin, the figurative father of evolutionary theory.
“Big movies come out on Christmas Day and Memorial Day,” Head said. “We thought we’d tag onto our big holiday.”
Head added that the magazine quickly gained popularity after its launch.
“We get emails from professors all over saying they want to get involved with the magazine,” Head said. “It’s already gotten beyond a friends club.”
However, Keith Hogan, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, is skeptical of the website’s target demographic.
“I think it’s a really interesting perspective but I’m almost kind of worried of what the target audience would be,” Hogan said. “I feel like the people who would be interested in evolution wouldn’t be the type of reader to apply it to modern news. It feels like two completely foreign concepts; although the blend of ideas seems very intriguing.”
The website features both articles written by professors and interviews with experts, according to Head, and in the future, the editors plan to add animations and fun videos to introduce people to the new concepts in evolutionary science.
“That way we can really deal with different backgrounds of readership,” Head said.
She also said only experts with a Ph.D. are able to contribute content to the magazine. She said she regularly conducts interviews with some of the experts and posts the videos on the website.
“I definitely want to increase the number of interviews I’m doing,” Head said. “That will happen when I build my own network of scientists.”