Mosaic Magazine archive

Now available online is the Mosaic Magazine Archive, consisting of articles, published from 1970 to 1992, in the National Science Foundation's flagship magazine. Material is searchable by issue, topic, and author.

Mosiac was launched in the winter of 1969/1970. Initially conceived as a house organ, the magazine was designed to define NSF to its constituencies in government and the science community. Mosaic soon began to focus on research projects pursued by foundation grantees in the nation's universities and research institutions and grew from a quarterly to a bimonthly magazine.

For most of Mosaic's 22-year existence, Warren Kornberg was editor. He relied on an extensive string of freelance science journalists and writers who expanded the magazine's scope and coverage. While NSF-supported research remained a core, coverage grew to include much broader areas of research. The reporting often extended well beyond U.S. borders and included extensive travel by writers to enable them to spend time with the scientists whose work they were reporting on, where it was going on.

The goal of Mosaic was to provide scientists a place to keep up with frontier research in areas outside of their own specialties, written at a level at which the material would be respected by the scientists in the field but accessible to a sophisticated lay readership.

The magazine's roster of bylines included science writer stalwarts George Alexander, Tom Alexander, Joseph Alper, Peter Andrews, Marcia Bartusiak, Sandra Blakeslee, Mort La Brecque, Carla Carlson, William Check, Ron Cowen, William Cromie, Lucille Day, John Douglas, Ed Edelson, Lee Edson, Ann Finkbeiner, Arthur Fisher, Kendrick Frazier, Frederic Golden, Billy Goodman, Peter Gwynne, Allen Hammond, T. A. Heppenheimer, David Holzman, Sam Iker, Diane Johnson, Robert Kanigel, Warren Kornberg, Henry Lansford, David Leff, Roger Lewin, Randi Londer, John Ludwigson, Gail McBride, William Metz, Norman Metzger, Anne Simon Moffat, Derral Mulholand, Steve Olson, Ben Patrusky, Charles Petit, John Pfeiffer, Patricia Pine, Daniel Rapoport, Boyce Rensberger, Leslie Roberts, Joann Rodgers, Albert Rosenfeld, Jane Stein, Mitchell Waldrop, Lois Wingerson, Patrick Young, and David Zimmerman.

After the publication folded in 1992, Kornberg fulfilled request for photocopies of individual articles until about 2003 when, despite the continued relevance of much of the material, demand fell off.

Both the impetus and the technical know-how required to launch the current site came from Fred Herzog, a New York-based IT consultant, computer whiz, and life-long science enthusiast who offered his talent pro bono. Herzog's interest in creating mosaicsciencemagazine. org grew from extended conversations with neighbor and friend Ben Patrusky, executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), who felt that a web-accessible Mosaic archive would prove invaluable to a wide range of readers in search of a fuller understanding of the intellectual ferment and historical research strides that undergird many of today's (and tomorrow's) scientific advances and, indeed, many societal issues faced today.

Herzog registered the domain name and enlisted the services of friend and colleague, Seth Hersh, another IT specialist, who also asked no compensation for his contributions. Together they shaped the site's format to make it eminently searchable.

The site format in place, the time came for Warren Kornberg to make a big sacrifice. Readying Mosaic for online posting would oblige him to eviscerate his much-treasured set of bound volumes (perhaps the only complete set available). Kornberg did not waver. He took it upon himself to cut those precious volumes apart to separate out individual issues. These he then packed and shipped to New York where, aided by an industrial-strength paper cutter, Heroz sundered the issues to yield the individual pages required for feeding to the high-speed digital scanner.

As ScienceWriters went to press, 593 articles had been uploaded as searchable/downloadable PDF files, representing 97 percent of all Mosaic articles.

(NASW members can read the rest of the Fall 2009 ScienceWriters by logging into the members area.)

(Source: Mosaic archive website)

Nov. 30, 2009