"Don't worry, we're just getting started."
In his post to readers on the eve of 2013, Josh Topolsky offered up that promise. And he kept it. Four months later, I'm excited to welcome all of you to The Verge Science — a dedicated section of The Verge that'll explore scientific inquiry with the same enthusiasm, intellect, and curiosity that our site already brings to coverage of technology and culture.
It's my job to get you really damn excited about science
If you're an avid reader of The Verge, I'm willing to bet that you get really excited about tech. It's my job, as the fearless leader of this new hub, to get you really damn excited about science, too. To do that, I had to step back and figure out why I was excited about science in the first place.
I've worked as a science reporter since I was 18, and I've covered the topic for a ton of different audiences — from national defense nerds to uber-science fanatics to women ages 35 to 60 to the "average American reader" on AOL. But no matter who I was writing for, or what topics I was covering, science always seemed like the only game in town.
When I was 11 or so, my parents both got sick. Their illnesses weren't similar at all: one manifested itself in the body, in the ability to see, to walk, to speak; the other showed up less tangibly, in the capacity to enjoy experiences, treasure relationships, and perceive the positive. Yet they were both rooted in the same inscrutable place: the brain.
It's a connection that both fascinated and frustrated me for years, as I struggled to understand how we could know so little about diseases that affected so much. Meanwhile, I watched my parents experience markedly different outcomes following their diagnoses. Thanks to a pioneering treatment for MS, my dad has never been healthier. My mom, in part because of a lack of adequate remedies for clinical depression, died eight years ago.
Learning to understand these experiences opened my eyes to science
Learning to understand these experiences opened my eyes to science. I realized that when the people closest to me were sick, struggling, even dying, the possibilities of science became my only recourse. I could be frustrated by what we didn't know, or I could be heartened by what we might one day find out. Knowing that people were working on solutions was comforting in a way that nothing else could be. Scientific research might not figure out the answers I wanted quickly enough, but someday, it would have them. When things get really bad, someday is a pretty important word.
No question is impossible to answer
Of course, science is about much more than health and medicine, and it doesn't always touch us so personally. But the possibilities inherent to scientific investigation are universal, whether it's space or electronics or climate change — and often those possibilities are going to impact our lives. In science, no question is impossible to answer, though it might take thousands of tries and several lifetimes to find the right solution. That makes me hopeful, and curious, and excited.
It also makes me intent on staying informed. I want to know how what's going on now might one day influence my health or the environment, or how it might transform the devices we use or even the way we understand the universe. I want my decisions, and my opinions, to be grounded in knowledge. I hope you agree, and I hope you'll join me. We're just getting started, and the possibilities are endless.
Already, we've got plenty for you to check out: our debut report, an investigation into the potential risks of federal research designed to prevent a pandemic, and a Q&A with best-selling science journalist Mary Roach. And by all means, come hang out in our new forum and follow us on Twitter @VergeScience.
Video by Ryan Manning and John Lagomarsino
Edited by Ryan Manning
Written and narrated by Katie Drummond
Special thanks to Ross Miller, Regina Dellea, Sam Thonis, and the New Jersey Liberty Science Center