mariette.jpg Longtime science journalist Mariette DiChristina has been named the first female editor-in-chief of Scientific American in the magazine’s 164-year history.

DiChristina, who joined the magazine in 2001 as executive editor, has been serving as acting editor-in-chief since her predecessor, John Rennie, left in June. Although she admits to feeling a sense of responsibility as the venerable mag’s first female leader, DiChristina seemed humbled by our sense of awe in her accomplishments.

“I have two young daughters; one of them wants to be a scientist, and the other one wants to be the editor of Scientific American,” she told FishbowlNY. “I think anybody who is a position of leadership should feel a sense of responsibility. And I don’t know if mine is any greater or less because I’m a first for the magazine. I know I’m very honored and grateful.”

DiChristina, who has worked in science journalism for over 20 years, also downplayed the experience of working as acting editor for the past few months. When we asked if it had been a “trial period” of sorts, she said, “In a sense, every magazine editor, every publication editor, is there to please the readers. Every article I do, every story I put out, is always a trial. Every editor who is working should be living in terror that they are not pleasing their readers. In that sense, the last several months was a trial in the way any day in the office is a trial.”

In her new role, DiChristina will oversee Scientific American as well as Scientific American Mind, a bimonthly magazine that focuses on the brain and behavior that she herself helped launch. Before joining Scientific American, DiChristina worked for nearly 14 years on the edit staff at Popular Science, working her way up to executive editor there. She is also the president of the National Association of Science Writers.

Full release after the jump

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