I have been a subscriber to Popular Science on and off for awhile now, and I still haven't fully decided whether this magazine is worth owning. As a benchmark I am going to compare it to Discover magazine which I feel is superior.
Though Discover is the better magazine Popular Science does have one thing that Discover doesn't, invention inventions and more inventions. More hightech gadgets than you know what to do with. At the beginning of every Popular Science there are a few pages just chock full of the newest and most interesting gadgets that are soon for the market. This section is great if you are someone who loves to have the latest and coolest toys, and makes for an interesting conversation piece during the day.
What I don't like so much about Popular Science is related to what I liked about it, let me explain. I enjoy reading about all the gadgets at the beginning of the magazine but the rest of the magazine is also very gadget oriented. This is compared to Discover magazine which focuses more on basic scientific research. This is my personal opinion and if you are someone who likes to read about the latest advances in car engine design and home insulation then this is your magazine. I personally like to read more about the newest in basic scientific research and not it's applications in terms of engineering.
Now Popular Science does a reasonable number of science related articles I don't mean to imply that they don't have any. But compared to Discover there quantity, quality and variety of articles is second best. Now if you interests go more towards the devices of science then get Popular Science, but if you are interested more in the science itself get Discover.
When I first began exploring my interest in science, I happened to come across the magazine Popular Science. It was great, there were articles on new technologies and current scientific concerns that were completely enthralling. What couldn't be better?
But as my interests expanded, I found that the magazine was ill equipped to expand with me. While the quality of their magazine was still high, the subject matter appears to only be geared for the very mainstream science enthusiast. As time went on, I became increasingly aware of the heavy slant towards commercialism in the scientific community. Don't get me wrong, nothing drives scientific progress as the competition between companies, but was I reading a scientific magazine or a purchasing brochure?
I would wholeheartedly suggest this magazine for many people who don't want to get too deep into the foray of science, those who can handle and even enjoy a light fluffy article without a lot of deep probing. However, for those who may want a little more chicken with their mashed potatoes, I would suggest moving on to Discover magazine or one of the many other more science driven magazines.
I've been a subscriber to Popular Science for two years now. My subscription has just ended, and I'm not renewing it. Why? Well for one thing I don't find all of the articles interesting. And I don't have time to read as much as I would like.
Popular Science is a great magazine, and I recommend it. But just a warning. Not everything is truly what it appears in this magazine. Yes, there are some great scientific topics that really stimulate the mind. But most of the articles are about cars or small electronics. If you're not into that sort of thing, this isn't for you.
I guess we live in the "sound bite" generation. It seems like we expect every form of media to present everything in three to five minute sound predigested form. That is exactly what you get with "Popular Science." Perhaps in our busy world we can only take things in such short bites. If so, this magazine is perfect for the person who only has fifteen minutes to catch up on the state of science.
I looked through various issues of "Popular Science" and began with the table of contents. I see an article about weapons in space, and the table of contents shows that the article is eight pages long. That sounds interesting. I flip over to the article and find that the total amount of print fills just about two pages, and the rest is pictures. I think I have read longer articles about space weapons in the non-science magazine "Time." Perhaps this article was a fluke, so I flip to "The Worst Jobs in Science."
This seven page article has more print. This article has nearly four pages of actual writing. Wow. I am impressed. Of course, this in depth article contains tidbits about what it is like to be an orangutan pee collector. I will admit that this article did use some scientific words like "ketone" and "reproductive-hormone levels." I was feeling more scientific at this point. I decide to see what else the magazine has to offer.
I start flipping pages and see all sorts of product advertisements. There must be more articles. Wait. Those are not advertisements; they are descriptions of high tech toys. I only thought they were advertisements because they looked like advertisements.
In fairness to "Popular Science," I am guessing that their target audience wants stuff munched into digestible little articles so that they can grasp just a teeny bit about a subject in about two minutes. Obviously you are not going to become an expert in a few minutes. The article above did not explain what "ketone" was (this is where you go hit the internet and find out what ketone is, assuming you really want to know), and what ketone tells scientists. However, if you want to be informed about something, but you only want to know it exists without knowing the how or why, then this magazine is probably perfect for you. Perhaps you can even impress your guests by leaving this magazine on the coffee table. Unless they are scientists or engineers, of course, then you may want to move your copy to another place until they are gone.
Great for laymen interested in technology. VERY heavy on advertising, light on news and products.
Like me, a magazine called Popular Science has been around for a long time. I've always been a hands-on type, and Popular Science used to be THE magazine for folks like me. Unfortunately while keeping the same name this magazine stopped showing readers how to do things and started only displaying new products. Period.
I have difficulty paying for a magazine that contains nothing but advertisements. Fortunately it was cheap.
I had a subscription to this magazine for ten years, and loved every page of every isue- but, thay changed in the last year or so to trying to be more "hip" ;it doesent have the same information it once had, still good and shiny stuff inside, just not enough to warent twenty-four bucks for me. oh well.
Very informative magazine, one of the top best in the field. Great for the layman.
I enjoyed my subscription to this magazine, but the layout and ads really detracted from the editorial content. So much so that I'm not renewing my subscription. First off, the layout. It's incredibly busy, no white space, and the colors often conflict. It's just plain UGLY. Oddly, the covers are always very eye-catching. Do they have a different team work on them? And the ads. Don't get me started on the ads. Viagra, Viagra, Viagra, gold coins, gold coins... Viagra. With the assorted rip-offs and obvious scams, they really take away from the reader/editorial trust. I know times are hard in the print business, but I think they should have some kind of standard. So unless you're a 50+ man with erectile dysfunction, and you are an avid coin collector, you might want to skip this magazine. I recently bought an issue of Discover at the airport and really enjoyed it. Not quite the same topics, but close enough. And of course there's Wired, which I count as the gold standard.
Good price, but they sent two back issues along with the August issue so I am already one fourth of the year through.