Indiana University Research & Creative Activity


Volume 30 Number 1
Fall 2007

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Editor's Notes

If you've spent any time at all in an academic setting, you know the season of new beginnings is not spring, but fall.

Indiana University has its fair share of new beginnings this fall, chief among them a new president (Michael A. McRobbie, see A Time for Action), a new provost (Professor of Philosophy Karen Hanson), new vice president appointments, and new facilities, including the multidisciplinary science building, Simon Hall.

But each year, many things remain the same, of course, like this magazine. First published in November 1977 by IU's Office of Research and Graduate Development and the IU Foundation, Research & Creative Activity has been in continuous publication ever since. Three decades for a university research magazine is not unrivaled, but it is rare. R&CA owes its longevity to support from the Office of Research plus editorial guidance from faculty members such as Helen Nader (former IU professor of history now at University of Arizona); the late Al Wertheim, IU Bloomington professor of English and theater; and Sarita Soni, now IU's vice provost for research.

Back in the hippie heyday, the mantra "Don't trust anyone over 30" held sway. Even though I'm old enough to remember the original slogan, I never liked it. Trust is such a strangely fragile commodity—solid and strong as steel but irreparable when broken. It seems foolish to spurn it, no matter your demographics.

Trust may be in decline today, but one place it seems less transitory is here, in the university world--where parents entrust their children to the higher education process, students entrust professors with their minds, colleagues entrust one another with insights and ideas, and faculty trust magazines like this one to accurately portray their work to the world outside their office and laboratory doors.

In its earliest years, R&CA was edited by Eugene Eoyang, now an IU professor emeritus of comparative literature and East Asian languages and cultures. Eoyang signed off on his last issue with these words: "We are fortunate to live and work in a university with the 'universe' of knowledge at our disposal. It would be a pity if we lost touch with insights available from other disciplines. Still less can we afford to become hostile to that which we do not yet understand. . . . Such barriers have no place in a seat of higher learning: Research & Creative Activity is dedicated to breaking down those barriers."

Thirty years later, it still is. Trust me.