String Theory—Go for it

Nova is a cool show. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it's a TV science series on PBS that tackles all kinds of questions about our planet, our universe and ourselves. A recent episode, "The Elegant Universe," explored something called string theory. For the sake of brevity, the theory has to do with subatomic particles beyond even quarks.
By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief January 1, 2005

Nova is a cool show. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it’s a TV science series on PBS that tackles all kinds of questions about our planet, our universe and ourselves. A recent episode, “The Elegant Universe,” explored something called string theory . For the sake of brevity, the theory has to do with subatomic particles beyond even quarks. I bring it up not to prove that I’m a geek, but to make an observation about publishing papers. Throughout the course of the theory’s evolution, which began in the early 1960s, various physicists had “Eureka” moments, making new discoveries that added further legitimacy to the theory. But in almost every case, papers published on these discoveries were rejected or met with a lukewarm response at best—until recently when mathematical anomalies were solved.

This made me think about our community and industry publications, including this one. One of the missions of CSE , in my mind, is to encourage the discussion of ideas, even seemingly crazy ones such as the notion that the universe, at its most basic, is made up of undulating bits of rubberband-like energy that maintain their form and resonance due to six unobservable subatomic dimensions. What I’m saying is that I want you to write in with more “out there” engineering ideas. I’m confident in presenting such ideas in CSE because our readers are very informed and are always up for an intellectual challenge, ready to point out inconsistencies or flaws. It’s not that I enjoy readers poking holes in other people’s stories; it’s that these ideas spark discussions that help take the community in new directions. Indeed, some of our columns—Specifier’s Notebook and the M/E Roundtable—are there purposefully to express opinions and unconventional ideas. As is evident in our Letters section, we’re not afraid to print legitimate rebuttals or commentary when it adds to the knowledge pool.

Anyway, keep the letters, story ideas and theories coming. We’ll get to them, even if it takes a little time. The key to our success is maintaining an open and ongoing forum.

On a completely unrelated matter, it’s with mixed emotions that I announce the departure of our publisher Rob Goulding, who is leaving us for a new opportunity in the Big Apple. Rob started as a salesman on CSE some 12 years ago, working first the Midwest, then the East Coast sales territories. He was the hand-picked protege of our previous publisher, Tim Kelly, and leaves many friends behind. The good news is that we are being joined by another disciple of Mr. Kelly: Jim Langhenry, the current publisher of our sister magazine Plant Engineering . I look forward to working with Jim and some of the synergies he’ll bring to our portfolio. Welcome aboard, Jim, and to Rob, bon voyage.