Letter to Our Readers
Dear Readers,

Happy new year! I hope you have enjoyed a restful time with family and friends over the holidays and are optimistic about the year ahead.

In spite of the many political and economic uncertainties around the country and the world, there is a strong mood of optimism at Mines. Perhaps it is fueled by all the good news: sponsored research is up, several major new initiatives are being funded, ongoing energy research of all kinds is being followed closely and student enrollment statistics are strong. Or maybe it can be explained more generally: With the world's appetite for energy and other natural resources skyrocketing, the School and its alumni are in high demand. Whatever the reason, MInes is a particularly dynamic and exciting place to be right now, and I look forward to covering new developments on campus in the coming year.

I'm particularly pleased with the feature stories in this issue. Illustrated on the cover, Millicent Schmidt's '03 story, "Expanding Educational Frontiers," describes how a volunteer group of students created a remarkable teaching technology - in signature Mines style, resourcefulness and creative problem-solving featured large. "Staying in the Game, " by Jack Sommars, addresses the country's looming shortfall in qualified engineers and scientists, detailing what Mines is doing to tackle the issue. In "Oil from Stone," Paul Roberts provides an informative survey of oil shale, giving us a window into this colossal energy resource that is burdened by so many environmental concerns. And the story I wrote on cosmic ray detection, "Messengers from [Distant Galaxies]," illustrates the remarkable reach of modern science as it hints at the nature of the universe's most extreme environments.

I hope you enjoy this issue. We've accomplished a lot with Mines magazine in 2007 - a fresh design, a brand new website and a revised editorial focus - and we have plenty in store for 2008. Keep the feedback coming.

Best wishes for a constructive start to the year,


Nick Sutcliffe
Editor and Director of Communications, CSMAA