Scientists who win Oscars grab teenage readers

Adi Bloom

Teachers: whatever you do, don't rave about Flipside magazine.

Flipside claims to be Britain's most talked-about teenage publication, with more pages, more stuff, more fun - and more science.

With glossy pictures, true-life stories and celebrity gossip, it looks like any other teen magazine. But where most offer advice on how to pull the Year 11 heart-throb, Flipside uses pop-culture to sell science.

Dickon Ross, Flipside editor, said schools had responded well to his magazine -but he would rather they didn't say so.

"My only request is that teachers don't rave about it too much," he said.

"That could be bad news for us. It's guaranteed to turn kids off straight away."

Articles about famous footballers explore sports injuries. A piece on horoscopes examines the gap between predictions and reality with references to celebrities: the stars say that 50 Cent, the notoriously aggressive rap star, is "nurturing, sensitive and romantic".

"To young teens, this is a magazine about music and movies and sport, and anything they're into," Mr Ross said.

"Education and entertainment don't have to be mutually exclusive. We want to show that scientists aren't just people in white coats. They win Oscars and design mobile phones."

Mr Ross said the magazine avoided words such as "physics" or "chemistry", because they smacked of schoolwork. He said. "We have no links with the curriculum. We think, what are teens into? What pictures can we get that are really strong? Then we work backwards from that."

Flipside was originally sent free to every secondary-school library. But interest from retailers means this month, it is being relaunched as a commercial publication.

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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