3 Quarks Daily

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3 Quarks Daily
Logo of 3QD.jpg
Type of site
literature, the arts, politics, current affairs, science, philosophy
Available in English
  • S. Abbas Raza
     Founding Editor
  • Morgan Meis
  • Robin Varghese
  • Azra Raza
  • Sughra Raza
  • Jim Culleny
     Poetry Editor
  • Zujaja Tauqeer
      Associate Editor
Website www.3quarksdaily.com
Users 400,000 per month
Launched 2004; 14 years ago (2004)
Current status Online

3 Quarks Daily (3QD) is an online news aggregator and blog that curates commentary, essays, and multimedia from high quality periodicals, newspapers, journals, and blogs. The focus is on literature, the arts, politics, current affairs, science, philosophy, gossip–and, as stated on their web site–"anything else we deem inherently fascinating." Each day of the week from Tuesday through Sunday features about a dozen items culled from the World Wide Web. Each Monday is devoted to an online magazine which has essays and other previously unpublished content by editors and guest columnists.[1] The stated aim of 3QD is to offer “a one-stop intellectual surfing experience by culling good stuff from all over and putting it in one place.”[2]

3 Quarks Daily also awards annual prizes, called “quarks,” for exceptional writing in the blogosphere, as well as organizing quarterly online symposia on international issues. The blog commands a significant readership and readers follow it in a variety of ways: through an email subscription and an RSS feed, as well as through social media updates via Twitter[3] and Facebook.[4]


Author, engineer, and philosopher S. Abbas Raza founded 3 Quarks Daily in 2004 to serve as a conduit for content across disciplines for the web-based intellectual everyman.[5] Unlike similar blogs of the time, such as Arts & Letters Daily and Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish, 3QD would explore topics beyond the humanities and feature science content as well as commentary on current events. In fact, Abbas Raza says that Arts & Letters Daily, "was one of the main inspirations for my starting 3 Quarks Daily."[6] The first post was on Saturday, July 31, 2004, and featured the 1904 Constantine Cavafy poem Waiting for the Barbarians.[7]

The new aggregator site grew rapidly, reaching a thousand posts within seven months; by 2014 that number had reached thirty-five thousand.[8] Since then, 3 Quarks Daily has culled content from hundreds of sources, from blogs such as Salon, Science Daily, and The Huffington Post, from major publications such as The New York Times, Nature, and The Guardian, to smaller outlets such as Guernica Magazine, The Awl, and The American Scholar.

The name 3 Quarks Daily comes from the elementary nuclear particles of physics which in turn were named after the word quark which James Joyce had used in Finnegans Wake.[9] The confluence of references to both science and literature in a single word suited the intent of the blog perfectly and the founders also thought that the name would be short and memorable. They named their top three annual prizes the Top Quark (1st), the Strange Quark (2nd), and the Charm Quark (3rd).

The DAG-3QD Peace And Justice Symposia[edit]

Since 2012 3 Quarks Daily has teamed up with the Amsterdam-based Dialogue Advisory Group (DAG) to present online dialogues on topics of international peace and justice.[10] Occasionally, as in the 2013 symposium on drones, a book is published.[11] As of October 2015 there have been six such symposia as shown below.

The Quark Prizes[edit]

In 2009, in the interest of encouraging and rewarding good writing in the blogosphere, 3QD announced that it would be awarding annual cash prizes, in Science, Arts & Literature, Politics, and Philosophy for the three best blog posts in each of these four fields. The selection process is as follows: After several weeks during which nominees are submitted by 3QD readers and editors, the four principal editors of 3QD (Abbas Raza, Robin Varghese, Morgan Meis, and Azra Raza) winnow the list down to six articles in each category. A prominent intellectual such as Steven Pinker,[12] Richard Dawkins,[13] or Lewis Lapham[14] is chosen in each of the four areas to select the final winners. The prizes are whimsically named the Top Quark (first prize of $500), the Strange Quark (second prize of $200), and the Charm Quark (third prize of $100). Originally the prize amounts were twice as big. Not every prize is awarded in every year and no prizes at all were awarded in 2013. A complete list of prizes awarded since 2009 is shown below.[15]


The 3 Quarks Daily blog has garnered praise from prominent authors, scientists, authors, and artists. Among them:

  • Richard Dawkins: I have placed 3 Quarks Daily at the head of my list of web bookmarks.[16]
  • Christopher Lydon: For sheer elegance, wit and worldly wisdom ... for consistency of character and manners, ever above the ordinary... 3 Quarks stands alone. If 3 Quarks Daily were a person, wouldn't it be Proust?[17]
  • Steven Pinker: I couldn't tear myself away from 3 Quarks Daily, to the point of neglecting my work. Congratulations on this superb site.[18]
  • Daniel Dennett: Mighty interesting website! I've added it to my favorites.[19]
  • Andrew Sullivan: You guys rock![20]
  • Ken Roth: 3 Quarks Daily is an essential stop for any serious reader on the Web.[20]
  • Laura Claridge: 3 Quarks is a daily must-read for intellectuals of all stripes. It is perhaps even smarter and better and more comprehensive than Arts & Letters Daily, the de facto gold standard of the smart set on the internet.[19]
  • John Allen Paulos: I've recommended your site to a number of friends and colleagues who've bemoaned the dearth of sites with any literary/scientific muscularity. Keep up the wonderful work.[19]
  • Thomas Manuel: The cross-disciplinary curatorial website represents a pocket of humanity in an increasingly amoral, algorithmic internet.[8]

Guest columnists[edit]

The Monday magazine is not completely the creation of the 3QD editors; guest columnists are frequently invited. Prominent guest contributors have included:[20]



External links[edit]