Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Becoming extinct

Many people mistakenly think that Nature, the journal for which I work, is a "nature" magazine (in the sense of "furry animals") as opposed to a "magazine of the natural sciences". Anyone who read Nature would find 60 very heavy pages a week of technical scientific research from astronomy through to structural biology (we order each week from the cosmos to the biological molecule, running through physics, geology, zoology, immunology and cell biology en route, with all points between). We also publish a front "half" of news, reviews and stimulating comment, including book reviews and correspondence, my two favourite sections -- but I think fair to say most of it aimed at professional scientists. We get a lot of mail a day, and I mean a lot. Much of it consists of sober, or less, sober manuscript submissions. Some comes from journalists, others from readers. Most these days is over the web or by email. Here is an example from today (Sacha is my colleague who operates the nature@nature.com email account). I just think it is so nice that people care enough to ask a question like this from several thousand miles away -- and are confident that we will know the answer! (Hope I got it right, punctuation people.) ----- Original Message From: (name removed) Sent: 27 February 2006 19:30 To: nature@nature.com Subject: Question To Nature: We are a children's book publishing company (name removed) based in California. We are publishing a book about Endangered Animals, and would like to know - what is the correct way of saying the following: "became extinct" or "went, gone extinct?" We would really appreciate your feedback so that we can use it correctly in the book. Thank you. -----Original Message----- From: Sanders, Sacha To: Clarke, Maxine Sent: 28/02/2006 08:33 Subject: FW: Question Hi Maxine, Do you know the correct way of saying this?! Thanks Sacha -----Original Message----- From: Clarke, Maxine To: Sanders, Sacha Sent: 28/02/2006 10:05 Subject: RE: Question "became extinct" is better!