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What We’re Thankful for at Scientific American

What We’re Thankful for at Scientific American

We’re for at American

Laura Helmuth

At a lot of , go the table and take turns talking about something they’re thankful for. It’s nice! This Thanksgiving season, we’d like to share some of the things that people at Scientific American are thankful for. And we’d love to know what you’re thankful for. If you share this story or tag us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or wherever you’re celebrating with your virtual communities, we’ll highlight the responses to help everyone appreciate what’s right in the world, even in 2020.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you to everyone who is trying to stop the spread of the COVID pandemic this year so it’ll be safe to celebrate with more people around the table next year. Here’s what else grateful for:

Xanthophylls, carotenoids and anthocyanins, the pigments that give us beautiful fall foliage. —Sophie Bushwick, technology editor.

Health care workers, essential workers, all the scientists working on COVID. —Tanya Lewis, health and medicine editor.

For black holes and glowing nebulae and swirling galaxies that remind me that we humans are just a small part of a vast universe much more fascinating and mysterious than the one we see in our everyday lives. And for having the scientific tools to peer out into this cosmos and begin to understand it. —Clara Moskowitz, space and physics editor.

Four Seasons Total Landscaping. —Seth Fletcher, features editor.

The EPA’s approval of nootkatone, a chemical found in cedar trees and grapefruit that appears to repel mosquitos and ticks more effectively than nasty DEET. —Jen Schwartz, technology and mind editor.

All the birds that have come to visit my yard—50 species since I started keeping track in May. The first one I logged was a rose-breasted grosbeak; number 50 was a golden-crowned kinglet. The birds don’t know there’s a pandemic. In a year of social distancing and staying at home, it’s been a balm to watch them nest and fledge and flock and, now, fly south to warmer climes. —Kate Wong, evolution and ecology editor.

That we’ll soon have a Madam Vice President and our president will no longer call climate change a “hoax.” —Jess Ramirez, Web producer.

Indigenous peoples around the world who are putting their lives on the line to defend nature. —Madhusree Mukerjee, science and society editor.

Health care workers who cared for my sister and new nephew (both now home and healthy!) after a complicated birth, and advocates who are working to improve outcomes for birthing folks and their babies. —Amanda Montaez, graphics editor.

That I got to take my daughter to vote in her first presidential election. She’d been waiting four years—already so much more socially conscious than I was at 18! And my “Because Science” PopSocket and my “Vote for Science” T-shirt. —Maya Harty, executive assistant supervisor.

Election workers doing their job despite all the BS. —Tanya Lewis, health and medicine editor.

Grateful to hear that a friend’s mother turned 101 during this pandemic and still plays online bridge and discusses politics with her children once a week. Grateful for hope. —Christi Keller, copy director.

Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, California condors, red-cockaded woodpeckers, whooping cranes, black-footed ferrets, and all the other species that could have gone extinct but didn’t—thanks to science, environmental protection policies, endless conservation efforts, and people who care. —Laura Helmuth, editor in chief.

Fact checkers and copy editors. —Jen Christiansen, graphics editor.

Our colleagues, not just here at Scientific American but also journalists around the world for holding the powerful accountable and providing critical information during the pandemic. —Sunya Bhutta, audience engagement editor.

Anthony Fauci, not just because he’s been a calm, clear, evidence-based voice in the swirling world of COVID-19 information, but because he bravely speaks truth to power despite criticism, mockery and death threats. It’s also fun (and telling?) that as a kid he was a Yankees fan even though he lived in Brooklyn when the borough’s hometown Dodgers were the rage. —Mark Fischetti, sustainability editor.

For having the technology to be able to video chat, call and text family and friends even when we can’t see each other in person. —Clara Moskowitz, space and physics editor.

For being able to witness, sometimes at consciousness-sapping proximity on account of lockdowns and social distancing, the dual neuronal marvels of my five-year-old’s developing theory of mind and my one-year-old’s first steps. —Jeff DelViscio, multimedia editor.

With news from planet Earth being incredibly troubling this year, I am thankful for all the amazing astronomy stories such as the news that researchers detected a group of lakes hidden under Mars’s icy surface. —Rachel Scheer, head of communications.

The Chesapeake Bay and its ospreys and crabs and eelgrass, and the wind and boat that lets me see them, and the #cuteanimals Slack channel. —Josh Fischman, chemistry, policy and biology editor.

The ergonomic desk chair I found abandoned in my apartment stairwell. —Sarah Lewin Frasier, news editor.

All the intimate concerts my favorite musicians are now livestreaming from their homes. Every ticket now guarantees a front row seat. —Liz Tormes, photo editor.

That my family and the people around me at work didn’t get sick and, when I got sick, it was a mild COVID-19 case. —Gary Stix, mind and brain editor.

All essential workers, from doctors and nurses to bus drivers and grocery store clerks. The Black Lives Matter movement, and everyone who is taking action to end police brutality and systemic racism in America. —Sunya Bhutta, audience engagement editor.

Grateful for my family working together to keep those around us safe and healthy, colleagues who love what they do and keep the magazine going strong, time home to spend with my kids and watch them grow every day, and unexpected sightings of hawks and falcons that visited our 5th floor fire escape entertaining us while we quarantined! —Silvia De Santis, prepress and quality manager.  

That the pandemic has led me and my family to take many more walks in the woods and fields that have been available to us all along, but which we never seemed to find time to explore. —Mike Lemonick, opinions editor.

Adulkt Life’s debut album Book of Curses: not only the most invigorating record I’ve heard this year, but the singer is 55 (!) and hadn’t been in a band for 25 years, which, as an aging artistic type myself, is incredibly inspiring. —Ryan Reid, online art director.

Ribbons of honking cranes overhead as they fly south. —Madhusree Mukerjee, science and society editor.

For vaccines, frontline and essential workers, leaders who value and listen to scientific evidence and expertise, the privilege to be able to work from home … and for my dog who likes to cuddle next to me while I work. —Andrea Thompson, sustainability editor.

Working for a magazine that has a real impact on the conversations in our society, whether about public health, racism or evidence-based thinking. We are old, scrappy and hungry. —Andrea Gawrylewski, collections editor.

Thankful for my friends, family and work colleagues. —Chris Monello, marketing manager.

For vaccines! And all the people who work so hard to make and distribute them. —Clara Moskowitz, space and physics editor.

One thing that I’m thankful for is the varied set of folks in space doing science. In a recent tweet from NASA: “‘The amount of scientific output that you’re going to see from this mission I think is absolutely incredible.’ – Kate Rubins of @NASA_Astronauts shares how a larger crew means more @ISS_Research on the @Space_Station” —Rich Hunt, production editor.

Where does one start? Definitely thankful to work with such a great and creative group of people, it is inspiring every day. I am especially thankful for my family and, despite the virus this year, we have been able to spend quality time that we hadn’t in years. Lastly, for the many people who, around the world, have stepped up to help others. Their service is truly remarkable and I am very thankful for it. —Mike Mrak, creative director.

Knowing that we, as a 175-year-old magazine for and about science, still exist at a moment when knowledge and truth could not be more critical to humanity’s continued happy existence on this planet. —Jeff DelViscio, multimedia editor.

All of the researchers who study, track, and contextualize media manipulation, digital disinformation, the spread of false ideas—and then educate policymakers, journalists and the public on how to save reality. They must be so, so tired. —Jen Schwartz, technology and mind editor.


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