The Journal of Extraneous Scientific Topics began in the spring of 1993 as a venue for a few humorous papers I had written for a sophomore level physics course at Brigham Young University. I got a few friends together and we used our primitive desktop publishing capabilities to produce the first issue of JEST. Back then, this involved a lot of cutting and taping and white-out. I never intended for there to be more than one issue, but after the first one was done a certain member of my staff, Russel Carlson, immediately began asking when we were going to do the next one. I was so flattered I eventually married him.
As time went on, JEST became a regular bi-monthly publication. The computer slowly replaced the scissors and tape, though we still had to do an analog edition one summer when none of the staff had access to the right software. With a puzzle page, comics, letters to the editor, a column entitled, "Ask Dr. Iva P. Aitchdee," recipies, poetry contests, and humorous scientific articles submitted by other physics students, roommates, neighbors, friends, and whoever I could drag into the project, JEST was a potpourri of science and technology humor. One of the most popular issues contained an article on the many dangers of hydroxic acid. My favorite cover of JEST advertized plans to build a back yard nuclear reactor, but, as all of our readers soon learned, one of our running gags was that nothing on the cover was actually inside the magazine.
After graduating from Brigham Young University and working one last summer at Los Alamos National Lab, I moved with my husband to Eugene, Oregon, where JEST slowly died. Home with my new baby, I was no longer studying physics, and so the well spring of ideas simply ran dry. I'm always kicking around the idea of going back for a master's degree, though, and when I do perhaps JEST will enjoy a revival. In the mean time, watch for JEST reprints in The Journal of Irreproducible Results.Last Update August 2007
Copyright 2007 by Rebecca J. Carlson