If general readers want to keep up with research progress and current science events, there are numerous websites available on the internet. Some even are updated daily with new material, but this is not what general readers require. Non-scientists need articles, illustrations, and videos that are readily comprehensible, and present a brief overview rather than a long comprehensive review. That audience is looking for brief illustrated explanations and summaries that serve as background or starting points for seeking further information.
I have recently discussed “How Can I Take the First Step to Learn About Science?” (see: http://dr-monsrs.net/2014/12/05/how-can-i-take-the-first-step-to-learn-about-science/ ). Here, I give my selection of just a few recommended websites covering almost everything in modern scientific research, along with my comments for each. I believe these sources for information and learning stand out from many others. Later, I will try to gather some recommendations for more specialized areas of science.
If you are looking for information that is about techniques, amusing, detailed, highly specific, promising some speculative bonanza, theoretical, unbelievable, or, unsupported by research results, then please look elsewhere!
Covering all of science is particularly difficult since the number of smaller branches in each major division (biology/medicine, chemistry, physics) is indeed very large. However, it is easy to recommend your first attention to the prominent weekly science journals, Science (http://www.sciencemag.org ), and Nature ( http://www.nature.com/news/index.html ). Both report on all parts of global science, as well as its interactions with society, governments, and industry. Coverages in these prestigious journals are somewhat similar, but each has a different flavor. You need not read both, so initially try each one to see which you prefer. Many scientists read them every week to try to keep up with progress, controversies, and problems, or to learn about new job openings. Readers who are not doctoral scientists should start by looking at their News sections, whose reports are comprehensible to all. Their search boxes are easy to use, and typically yield many informative materials.
Two long-standing magazines do a good job in presenting a large variety of reports about important current experimental research and the development of new technology: Popular Science ( http://www.popsci.com ), and Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com ). Most articles in both are designed to be fully understood by anyone in the public, and cover many different aspects of science. They are widely read and studied by young people interested to learn about science and research. The reports in Popular Science are more numerous and shorter, while those in Scientific American are fewer and longer. Both present many explanatory illustrations, and are recommended for general readers.
Major Branches of Science: Physics
The American Institute of Physics has several excellent websites, including one for their outstanding monthly journal, Physics Today (http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/issues ). This journal wonderfully covers all parts of modern physics, including research advances, controversies, policy issues, funding, and education. I recommend Physics Today for readers with a general interest directed towards the physical sciences.
Major Branches of Science: Biology and Medicine
Biological Science is so extremely diverse and spread out that it is completely unthinkable that any one source could even try to cover everything. Accordingly, at present I am not able to recommend any single source for general readers; I will make a few recommendations for some of the larger specialized areas in biology and medicine at a later time.
Major Branches of Science: Chemistry
News and materials about chemistry suited for general readers are readily available on several different websites. For non-scientists, I recommend the long-standing weekly journal from the American Chemical Society, Chemical and Engineering News ( http://cen.acs.org/index.html ). This presents important news about research, technology, controversies, and chemists. It covers all the different aspects of chemistry with some emphasis on applied research, and is recommended for general readers whose interest is focused on chemistry.
It is my hope that these recommendations will be useful for all non-scientists interested in starting to learn about new developments in modern science. My intention here is that these will serve as entry points for your interests and curiosity. Use of my recommended sources should save much time for those who have been simply entering some term into the search box of any browser, and then are overwhelmed by being confronted with many dozens of different internet sites to check out.
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