A word from Matin Durrani, Editor-in-chief, Physics World
In times of crisis, few could argue against the value of news organisations that provide timely, accurate and reliable information. As COVID-19 spread rapidly around the world, Physics World has been an indispensable, trusted source of daily news for the physical-science community. Indeed, since the start of the crisis, we’ve seen a steady increase in our readership. In April alone, the Physics World website reached the incredible milestone of 1 million pageviews.
Thanks to our amazing team of in-house editorial staff and our global network of scientific contributors, science journalists and science communicators, we have kept readers informed about how the virus is changing our lives and how physics is helping address this global health emergency.
In March we launched ‘Physics in the pandemic’ which has proven hugely popular and given voice to the global physics community as COVID-19 spread across the planet. This series of blogs and podcasts has revealed how physicists around the world are coping with the virus and how they’ve adapted their professional and personal lives.
The April edition of Physics World magazine, meanwhile, included a great cover story by science writer Jon Cartwright, looking at how physics-based techniques are helping us understand the virus behind COVID-19. The June edition also contains a feature by the same author on how a small band of far-ultraviolet light could kill viruses but still be safe for humans.
In addition, we’ve been posting daily research updates, opinions and analyses about the latest developments. The most-read articles are those that demonstrate what physics has to offer in the battle against the virus, such as how graphene coatings could make surgical masks easier to sterilize and re-use, or how physicists have unveiled a new, simplified ventilator for COVID-19 patients. As one of our readers put it, our coverage highlights how “physics is applied to real world problems and can have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives.”
As well as keeping our readers informed and connected, we’re also keeping everyone entertained. Our new weekly quiz puts 10 physics trivia questions to our readers. What started out as a bit of fun has become a sought-after end to the week for many in lockdown, with almost 100,000 pageviews and counting! We have even had special guest contributors, including a quantum quiz set by Caleb Rich, the winning captain from TV’s University Challenge, and another from science communicator and IOP Publishing ebook author Sam Illingworth.
Our online coronavirus related stories are free for everyone to read. We feel it’s important in these extraordinary times to ensure as many people as possible can find out about the latest breakthroughs.
Our readers turn to us because we show both “physics in the everyday” and “physics for social impact”. It’s what we’ve always done, and it’s what we’ll continue to do – throughout this crisis and beyond.
Matin Durrani, Editor-in-chief, Physics World