Dear Reader,

Several years ago, during most mornings, somewhere in the landscape of children’s television, you would hear Taj Mahal singing and Joan Cusack narrating – not about sharing, or taking turns, or telling the truth, or even potty training for that matter, but actually on (of all things) science. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, I’m referring to a program called “Peep and the Big Wide World,” a quaint animated offering which follows the adventures of Peep, Quack, and Chirp (a chick, a duck, and a robin), as they explore and discover all the things that “go” in their little world.

I know about this show because I happen to be a scientist with a vested interest in acts of science education. And I also know about this show because my two children use to watch it frequently, finding it both amusing and engaging enough to sit still for its entirety.

Of course, my children didn’t give a rat’s ass about it being science and all. And they certainly wouldn’t even begin to understand the irony of using characters that, in my circle of colleagues, currently represent reservoirs for both the Avian Flu Virus and the West Nile Virus (the duck, of course, has the funniest lines, possibly because he knows that he alone is the asymptomatic carrier).

But at the end of the day, I think that this is all really beside the point.

And that’s because the point is this: we should be impressed because the show succeeded in talking effectively to the general public about science. And it does this by being different, creative, charming and yet informative – which believe me is no easy task.

In no small way, we strive to do the same here. What you are reading is an ongoing experiment of sorts, a web publication that will attempt to be, well… different, creative, charming and yet informative. We’re hoping to provide an online (and possibly future print) platform that will accept all types of scientific writing. This will include those that plough through material in a journalistic or review style, or those that skip daintily, poignantly, humorously, or even angrily into creative writing. I suppose our own little holy grail would be to present an assortment of well written science literature in all of its possible connotations.

To express this somewhat esoteric flavor, we named this project The Science Creative Quarterly. A name that word for word, represents the following: “The” because we do want to engage people who enjoy good writing and, of course, understand the use of words and grammar; “Science” because we are about expanding the science knowledge in the public consciousness; “Creative” because we are interested in exploring the unconventional and literary realms that this project seeks; and “Quarterly” because, well, we really liked the word “Quarterly.”

So, if you’re willing, I ask that you please give us a minute of your time and take a deeper look. Let us know what you like and what you don’t like. Better yet, submit something and allow us the privilege of being impressed and excited with your work. And if you think we need a duck that says funny lines to succeed, please let us know. We are, in reality, still pretty clueless about the best way to do this, and it’s always good to know these sorts of things sooner rather than later.

David Ng (September 2005)

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(1) The Science Creative Quarterly is not technically a ‘quarterly,’ was actually once a ‘fortnightly’ (new material is presented every two weeks), but now has evolved into something of which no technical term exists. Why it has ended up this way is a bit complicated and has much to do with word preferences and journalistic desires for deadlines. Maybe we can one day be optimistic about the quarterly being offered as a print edition one day. Although, true to form, this will inevitably be in the form of an annual

(2) The Science Creative Quarterly will be promoted by our strictly educational sister site bioteach.ubc.ca, which is (shall we say) doing “pretty good.” We hope that many of those readers have an interest in seeing science literature presented in a myriad of ways, and some may even decide to participate.

(3) We are hopeful that The Science Creative Quarterly will become particularly useful for those who reside at the University of British Columbia, in that we will do our best to promote various events/talks/gatherings that may interest those of the interdisciplinary nature. In fact, the SCQ is an older sibling of a partner project called “Terry.” This is a wondrous project that aims to look at the arts/science interplay for topics concerned with pertinent global issues . More on this later, but it happens to be something of significant note, in terms of both interested partners and the type of folks associated with it

(4) Did we mention that we thrive on word of mouth?