Published by the American Geological Institute
and Trends in the Geosciences
Welcome to the May issue, my first issue as editor-in-chief of Geotimes. When asked to help lead the magazine, I accepted without hesitation and with great excitement. An effective Geotimes can have a powerful impact on our earth sciences, our careers and our contributions to life on our favorite place in the universe. Having worked in the geoscience community for some 35 years, I feel blessed to have a chance to share in such an opportunity.
My acceptance of the editor-in-chief position stems from a series of discussions with AGI staff on how to harness the potential of Geotimes. I see the magazine’s purpose as threefold: to support the careers of its readers, to advance the missions of the 35 geoscience societies that compose the AGI federation and to provide earth scientists with information that helps them support and promote the earth sciences.
What makes an effective Geotimes? I believe that most of us won’t make time to read yet one more magazine unless it offers some combination of useful, interesting and fun content. We have too many other options for our dwindling free time. In the case of Geotimes, useful probably describes content that has an instant impact in our careers and professions; interesting would be material that captures our minds; and fun is that moment of relief and abandon from life’s demands. The April 2000 issue’s interview with Margaret Leinen, for example, should be useful to a scientist considering submitting an NSF grant. Just about any reader should find this month’s reminiscence of the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens interesting. And the “Where on Earth?” feature is just plain fun. As we launch this effort to make Geotimes more valuable to earth scientists, we will keep these three characteristics — useful, interesting and fun — out front as our principal navigational aids.
In the last few months, the magazine has experienced major changes. It has a new design and has color on every page. Geotimes staff have added new sections, including “Where on Earth?,” For Students and, with this issue, the Resources Page — a response to letters received from readers lamenting the loss of the Energy in Brief section that used to appear every month in News Notes. This new page will offer the same information we provided with Energy in Brief, plus news about natural resources. And with the April issue, Geotimes dramatically increased its subscription discounts.
So how will we continue to build an effective Geotimes? As our success will be measured by earth scientists like you, we will start with you. Most material that appears in the magazine in the future will come from a network of earth scientists scattered throughout the various geoscience disciplines. These contacts within the disciplines will work with corresponding editors to maintain the flow of news into Geotimes.
As editor-in-chief, I will lead a group of corresponding editors while the staff — led by David Applegate, recently appointed permanent editor, and by Managing Editor Kristina Bartlett — will deftly shape each month’s issue.
Attracting as readers the majority of earth scientists from the dizzying array of disciplines, subject areas, specialties and fields of employment is a formidable challenge. It will not be easy and will require great care in the screening and preparation of content. Once we have the right content, we will present it in a way that helps you navigate to the material that is useful, interesting and fun for you.
I invite you to come aboard as these changes continue to work their way into the magazine, just as full color, increased subscription discounts, a new layout and new content have in recent months. Once aboard you have earned a vote, and we want to hear your thoughts on how useful, interesting and fun you find the magazine.
Believe your compass.
Samuel S. Adams