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A Radical Idea

Science journalism students launch Web magazine


Every year, graduate students at the College of Communication’s Center for Science and Medical Journalism create and maintain a science Web magazine in the fall semester as part of a group thesis project. 

This year’s version, Free Radicals, was launched in October. 

A free radical, according to the site, is an atom or a molecule with an unpaired electron; it is quick to activate chemical reactions with stable molecules, propagating a chain of free radicals. “These reactions play key roles in all kinds of everyday things: from combustion to climate change, physiology to farming, plastics manufacturing to plasma monitors.”

Contributor Roxanne Palmer (COM’10) says Free Radicals reflects that definition by providing a forum where students can generate ideas and discuss controversial topics in the science field. “We think science is transformative and revolutionary,” she says. 

Free Radicals is not a traditional Web site, Palmer says. Rather, it reflects current trends in journalism, using a blog template and new media, such as videos and slide shows. Students also constantly update the site with fresh content and will continue to add to it until semester’s end in December. 

Although Free Radicals is a science publication, its goal is to be accessible to all readers.

“The ultimate test for me is my mom,” says Palmer. “If she finds something interesting, then I know it’s okay.”

Samantha DuBois can be reached at duboissd@bu.edu.

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