The wildly successful web publication "I F*cking Love Science" currently has over 18 million likes on Facebook. For context, Popular Science has 2.8 million likes, and Scientific American magazine has about 2 million. The publication’s founder, 25-year-old Elise Andrew, has never been affiliated with any mainstream media outlet. She launched her page in 2012, filling it with beautiful scientific images, web comics, and even original articles about the latest scientific news. "IFLS declared, with no hint of irony, that science was amazing," wrote Alexis Sobel Fitts in a recent profile in the Columbia Journalism Review," and in desperate need of a digital-age evangelist to spread the word." Andrew describes her role in a lower-key way: "I’m just telling people things I think are cool."
This is how most Millennials feel about science—curious and awestruck. And they can’t get enough of it. They’re reading about science at their jobs and in their free time, in peer-reviewed journals or on Wikipedia. But what makes Millennials’ interests different from the scientific interests of every previous generation?
By most definitions, a millennial is a person born between 1982 and 2004. And even though we may be reluctant to generalize a generation of about 80 million, Millennials share some common traits that may seem contradictory to their elders. They want their work to be their passion, even though the recession has drastically reduced their job prospects for years to come. They are intricately and consistently connected via social media. They’re less likely to be affiliated with a religious institution than previous generations, but they pray just as often.