Alumna Laura Helmuth appointed editor-in-chief of 'Scientific American'

Laura Helmuth
Laura Helmuth

Laura Helmuth, a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program, has been named the new editor-in-chief of Scientific American. She is the ninth person to hold this position in the nearly 175-year history of the magazine. In her role, Helmuth will be responsible for overseeing the flagship magazine,, and other branded products. 

Prior to joining Scientific American, Helmuth was the science and health editor for the Washington Post. She has also been an editor at National Geographic, Slate, Smithsonianand Science, and a freelance writer or editor for the New York Times, Nautilus, National Wildlife, and other publications. She was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 2016 to 2018 and a board member from 2012 to 2016.

Helmuth earned a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley before turning to science writing, earning a graduate certificate in science communication at UC Santa Cruz in 1998. She has regularly returned to campus to guest lecture in the science writing program and mentor students, and she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences in 2019.

I am thrilled to be joining Scientific American, one of the most influential and respected magazines in the world,” Helmuth said in a statement. “The novel coronavirus circulating around the world reinforces the need for trustworthy and inclusive science and science communication. Scientific American’s mission has never been more important.”

Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States and a leading publication for science and technology in the general media. The magazine is published in 15 languages, with more than 12 million print and online readers worldwide.