MUSE® magazine for ages 9–14 (science, nonfiction)
MUSE® is a discovery magazine for children and teens. It takes intellectual curiosity seriously, while never taking itself too seriously. The editors seek fresh and entertaining articles from the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Timeliness and trustworthiness are essential, but humor, irreverence, and atypical angles are also hallmarks of MUSE.
Each edition of MUSE focuses on a central theme and open-ended organizing questions about the theme. Although articles will provide different angles and perspectives on a theme, we aim for every article in an issue to help a reader begin to form at least an initial answer to the organizing questions.
Ideal MUSE articles build on and extend the existing knowledge most young people in grades 4–8 have. We value articles that feature innovators, scientists, and engineers who can explain what they’ve done in a clear and understandable way. Articles that explore new developments related to the organizing questions are especially welcome.
We seek articles that describe how things and processes work, and we look for claims or assertions to be backed up with evidence.
Interested writers should familiarize themselves with MUSE’s style and content, particularly in recent issues. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. Authors are expected to ensure accuracy in both conception and detail. MUSE purchases all rights to materials.
Feature Articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars)
Profiles and Interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words)
Activities and Experiments (500–800 words)
Photo Essays (100–300 words)
Science Fiction or Science-Focused Fiction (800–1,200 words )
Articles are commissioned. We invite detailed queries for articles related to upcoming themes (see below). Detailed queries include a cover letter, an outline of the proposed article, including scope and treatment, and proposed resources. Writers new to MUSE should also provide a resume and writing sample. Authors wishing to write an article that belongs in MUSE but doesn’t fit posted themes may submit an abbreviated pitch that conveys the idea in a paragraph or two. No unsolicited manuscripts please.
Pitch here on this Submittable page (the editors’ preference) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If emailing, include the word “QUERY” and the issue’s month/theme in the subject line.
Creating an effective code; types of codes, ciphers, and cryptography; how to break a code by searching for patterns; mathematics and computer science in modern cryptography; codes used in wartime; the Navajo Code Talkers and Choctaw Code Talkers; the story of Alan Turing and the importance of Ultra to the Allied victory; profile of Elizebeth Smith Friedman; code devices; computer codes; breaking the code of DNA; secret signs used in baseball and other sports; hidden meanings in logos; how spies slip coded messages into songs, poems, and crossword puzzles; coded messages in art and literature.
Queries by June 15, 2022.
February: INTO SPACE
What are we sending into space and why?
Tiny spaceships that “light sail” through space; research bots that land on asteroids and potential asteroid battlers; swarms of bots as massive space telescopes; unusual objectives of the James Webb Space Telescope; discoveries made with New Horizons; lasers and satellites; private space flight; how NASA is working to get humans to Mars; Perseverance and the search for extraterrestrial microbial life on Mars; European and Chinese space flights to Mars; the new lunar water mission; the rocket that recently crashed into the Moon and how distant space debris sometimes returns; Earth-based space education and simulations for kids and training programs for aspiring astronauts.
Queries by July 15, 2022.
March: INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS
Animal migration, human migration.
Why species migrate during certain seasons; the effect of climate change on migration patterns; how animals know where to go and how they navigate; migrations of non-migratory animals such as millions of Zambia’s fruit bats; the incredibly long migrations of some birds; dragonfly and butterfly migrations; dispersions of animals before and after natural disasters; overland migration, land-bridge crossings, water rafting, flight, swimming, and human-related transport; the migration of slow-moving animals; technology that scientists use to track animal movement; the International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space (ICARUS) and the International Space Station; how to safely observe migratory animals; human migration in history and open scientific debates; climate-change-driven migration; the longest journeys in history.
Queries by August 16, 2022.
April: TREE SECRETS
The amazing world of trees.
“Communication” between trees and mycorrhizal networks; the role of trees in combatting climate change; myths and facts about tree planting; deforestation and the Amazon rainforest; ancient and old trees (and tree rings); famous trees worldwide; newly discovered and undiscovered tree species; threats to trees; role of the citizen scientist in ecology; climbing redwood trees; primates and trees; bird nests; the ecosystem at the tops of tall trees; synthetic trees.
Queries by September 15, 2022.
May/June: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE
Behind the scenes at the theatre.
The science of lighting and how to run the lights during a show; how partially blind performers use lights to navigate onstage; how props work, breakaway glass, fire, food, and the role of the prop master; how opera singers train, and how they can sing without mics; teen ballet dancers; what goes into costumes, makeup, hair, and wigs; types of masks; ancient forms of theater in Greece, China, etc.; well-known tales of old scripts and books; a newly written monologue or stage tune; how the Globe Theatre worked and other famous venues; the science of stage fright and how to memorize lines; the work of puppeteer Basil Twist; interview with a Broadway actor or director; profile of Stephen Sondheim.
Queries by October 17, 2022.
July/August: UNDER THE SEA
Humans living, working, and exploring underwater.
Shipwrecks and how are they are found; the recent discovery of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance; famous items found on wrecks and other old human underwater structures; maritime archaeology; the possible discovery of Atlantis and the subject of lost continents; pipelines, infrastructure, and the Channel Tunnel; Aquarius, the underwater science lab; Fabian Cousteau’s 31-day stint underwater; underwater cities of the near future; differences of building underwater vs. building on land; impact of human structures and activities on underwater ecosystems; damage to corral reefs; submarines; scuba diving; deep-sea exploration and deepest dives; how much humans still don’t know about the oceans; new undersea discoveries.
Queries by November 15, 2022.
The complex and important organ inside our skulls.
The science of sleep; how dreaming happens; how the brain disposes of waste and why that’s important; brain-monitoring technology; brain regions and what we know and don’t know about the brain; the neuro map and brain waves; the role of the brain in physical performance; protecting our brains during physical activity; myths about our brains, such as left and right brains; big brains and Einstein’s brain; how babies learn while sleeping; how bilingualism can benefit the brain; how children learn language more easily than adults; animal intelligence and various examples; brain foods and keys to a healthy brain; new understandings about stuttering; brain dissection; the effects of music, color, humor, friendship, exercise, nurturing touch, and nature on the brain; the importance of brains in vision and hearing; how brains work with bionic limbs.
Queries by December 15, 2022.
Volcanoes past, present, and future.
Volcanoes and the earthquakes and tsunamis they can create; the most destructive volcanoes in history and lessons learned; new research about volcanoes and the end-Triassic mass extinction and the birth of the Atlantic Ocean; the recent volcanic eruption off Tongo; active volcanoes today and the scientists studying them; challenges in predicting volcanoes; different types of volcanoes; supervolcanoes and the most dangerous volcanoes near population centers; hazards in volcano research today and in the 19th century; wildlife near volcanoes; how volcanoes can affect weather; geysers vs. volcanoes; volcanoes and lava visible from space and underwater; volcanoes on other planets and moons; how to make a volcano.
Queries by January 16, 2023.
November/December: FUTURE FLIGHT
What’s next in aviation.
Next-generation aircraft; current research into electric, hybrid, and hydrogen-cell planes and the impact of climate change on aviation; what new aircraft will look like inside and out; latest developments with supersonic flight, its history, and possible return in the near future; speedier flight and the science of sonic booms; a notable historical advance in aviation; emerging technologies; use of robotics, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality; unpiloted flights and autonomous pilots; new flying cars; newly devised flying suits.
Queries by February 16, 2023.
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