May 6, 2010
The Triple Helix, a student publication founded at Cornell, is a global nonprofit
The Triple Helix was founded at Cornell in 2004 as a semiannual student journal focusing on science, society and law. Today, it is a nonprofit corporation at 27 universities worldwide and includes an online journal and a science policy division.
Its success has been so noteworthy that such organizations as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Kaplan Test Prep, and Scientists and Engineers for America sponsor The Triple Helix. Its website, which features research, scientific blogs and podcasts of seminars given by professors around the world, receives about 4,000 unique hits per week and is syndicated by Google News.
Each chapter of The Triple Helix is led by a president who coordinates print and online editors, science policy members, and community outreach, marketing and fundraising directors, says Julia Rosenberg '10, editor-in-chief of Cornell's print edition. With 20 to 30 student-writers submitting articles at each chapter to either the print or online editions, chapter presidents produce a print edition of the journal, "The Science in Society Review," once or twice a year. The journal features an international section comprising the best articles from all of the chapters.
What makes the print edition articles unique, says Rosenberg, is that students infuse their research-based articles with their own ideas. "I usually look for topics off the beaten path or a subject matter that may have been revisited, but from a new perspective," she said. The latest issue, for example, will feature such topics as the role of science advising in the current presidential administration and an examination of cyborg research.
Taking advantage of society's growing reliance on technology for information, The Triple Helix is expanding its online journal through its E-Publishing Division. Zain Pasha '11, executive editor-in-chief of the division, developed a new website for The Triple Helix in 2009 called TTH Online: Explorations in Science, Society and Law. This site features short articles that blend science and society and supplement the material in the print edition. It encourages debate and discourse through comment sections below each article and discussion forums.
"The Triple Helix Online fills a big need ... we have the scholarly research being done by students, but we also have the more current events and salient issues," Pasha said.
Cornell's chapter also boasts a robust science policy division, in which faculty, graduate students, politicians and activists are invited to speak to undergraduates on campus in a discussion-based setting. "Science, Society and Starbucks," on April 29, featured a speaker, for example, on sustainable development policy.
"A lot of undergrads who are science majors just 'do science' and don't think about the other implications of it, so we're trying to get people talking about those implications," said Haixin Dang '10, president of the Cornell chapter of The Triple Helix.
The Cornell chapter will introduce its latest print edition at an event open to the public, May 11 at 12:30 p.m. in Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall.
Graduate student Kate Neafsey is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.