As have many managing editors before me, I nurture a love-hate relationship with
the annual Highlights issue. It's the overwhelming volume of the thing: soliciting,
editing and presenting at least 30 different articles by at least 30 different
people on 30 different earth science disciplines. The volunteer authors also take
on a massive task, for which we are extremely thankful. We ask them to survey
their entire disciplines and then give us only a few nuggets or to summarize trends.
Many stories appear as longer versions online, our second year using the Internet
as an archive and complement to the print Highlights. These longer versions provide
snapshots through slightly larger lenses.
The already dense contents of the Highlights issue comprise the carefully chosen
tip of a formidable iceberg.
But when the finished product arrives from the printer, we can't help but sit
down and look at every page and feel proud of all our work.
And I can't help but marvel at the variety: earthquakes, coal, oceans, paleoclimate,
planetary geology, glaciers, structural geology, carbonates, paleoclimatology.
And new to the issue this year: geomicrobiology, igneous petrology, meteorites,
limnogeology and geological engineering. The diversity of the earth sciences floors
me every time. And yet, all these disciplines are united by the same mission:
to understand Earth and its place in the universe.
It seems fitting that the last Geotimes issue I would guide as managing
editor would be the Highlights issue. The fun of taking on a challenge like putting
out a Highlights issue and of taking on the many challenges I've had at
Geotimes makes it hard to leave the magazine. At the same time,
the variety of knowledge I've acquired here, and the realization that this variety
is integrated this combination is what inspires me to return to school
to do graduate work in geology. I arrived at Geotimes in 1997 with newspaper
experience, an English degree and a love for science. For the opportunity to follow
a change in course I thank Geotimes. I am excited about integrating my
experiences into a new endeavor.
I was honored when Editor-in-Chief Samuel Adams and Editor David Applegate invited
me to write the Letter from the Editor for this issue. I then had to ask myself
what message to convey.
First I want to take a last look at the stage so that it can be set anew. Back
in 2000, we started to redesign and redefine the magazine. Rallying this ambitious
undertaking was then AGI President Russell Slayback, and encouraging us was AGI
Executive Director and Geotimes publisher Marcus Milling. AGI Technology Director
Christopher Keane started working with Ad Coordinator John Rasanen to promote
the magazine. We hired Designer Mark Shaver, who has over the years given the
magazine its new look. We hired new writers, one of them past associate editor
Christina Reed, who was key in giving the magazine its new flavor. And many other
writers and interns have filled Geotimes with their excellent writing,
a crucial ingredient in creating a magazine people want to read.
We've enjoyed a marvelous and creative adventure to bring Geotimes to its
present form. Our readers old and new have stayed with us through the transition.
I now hand the managing editor baton to Lisa Pinsker, an excellent writer and
multitasker who over the past two years at Geotimes has also recast the
Geotimes Web site. She will guide the magazine with the same creative leaders
who guided me: Sam Adams and David Applegate. I look forward to watching them
steer the magazine wherever it may go.
Secondly I want to offer an optimistic view. I have been reading volumes about
earth science the past five and-a-half years. I've read many columns lamenting
the state of human resources in geosciences or that the "general public"
doesn't appreciate earth science. But I've also read columns celebrating the broad
scope of earth sciences or the diverse talents and adventures that earth scientists
acquire. And I've read about and understood the crucial perspective earth science
knowledge can give to big issues such as climate change, water resources, energy,
life on other planets, the origin of life, minerals, preservation, soils and food,
preparing for natural disasters, building highways properly and this could
be the best one the joy of discovering our planet's history and how our
Perhaps in my studies I may soon become focused on only one discipline of earth
sciences, on only one story in the Highlights issue. But I will challenge myself
to remember what I've learned at Geotimes: that geology/geoscience/earth
science/geophysics, whatever you may call it, is a big deal. It's part of a large,
diverse field of view that continues to amaze me.
Geotimes Managing Editor
Soon-to-be geoscience graduate student