Back Story: What Spectrum and Quanta Magazines Are All About

A look at the Simons Foundation's independent magazines covering autism research and math, basic science and computing topics

An illustration by Mrzyk & Moriceau, from Quanta’s “Why Sleeping Beauty Is Lost in Time,” by Pradeep Mutalik. The famous Sleeping Beauty problem has divided probability theorists, decision theorists and philosophers for more than 15 years.

Spectrum and Quanta, the two editorially independent magazines funded by the Simons Foundation, cover completely different topics: Spectrum covers autism research, and Quanta focuses on math, physics and computer science, as well as basic research in biology. But they have a lot in common as well. Both cover topics that mainstream media has neither the resources nor the dedicated science writers to cover in-depth, and both strive to foster community and lively conversation among their readers.

Spectrum aims to make current advances in autism research as accessible as possible. “Scientists who work on autism research are really diverse,” says Apoorva Mandavilli, editor-in-chief of Spectrum. They are neuroscientists, geneticists, psychologists and behavioral scientists. Some are clinicians and others work in labs remote from people with the condition. “They don’t all have the same background or use the same jargon, so our approach is to avoid jargon and write at a level that is clear and accessible,” Mandavilli says. As a result, Spectrum’s work is valuable for both scientists and interested lay readers, who tend to be people with autism and their families and friends.

Read more

Recent Articles