Letter to Our Readers
Dear Readers,

Is anyone else wondering what happened to summer this year? It seems as though for many, these months were compressed into a flurry of frenzied activity. However, at least one group of lucky alumni was able to slow down. In this issue we are pleased to share a travel log that Steve Sonnenberg PhD ’81 kept while leading the 2008 CSMAA Grand Canyon travel-study trip. “A Grand Adventure” is accompanied by some spectacular photography and tells the story of the trip and includes some fascinating commentary on the geological history of the canyon.

As we ushered in another academic year, we pondered whether a Mines degree is as hard to earn today as it was in years gone by. Draw your own conclusion when reading the “The Mines Curriculum.” This story takes a look at changes made over the years and includes arguments from diverse points of view.

Honored during Homecoming weekend with induction into the Mines Athletics Hall of Fame, the feature story about Marv Kay describes his lifelong connection to the school, his years of dedicated service and his accumulating legacy—a must read for all those who care strongly about Colorado School of Mines.

In Inside Mines, you can read about presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit to campus, which brought so much national and international attention to Mines. The school’s increased involvement with NREL is also detailed in this section, as is an interesting “citizen science” project aimed at identifying hydrogen producing algae species. Mines just received a grant of $9.3 million from the NSF to research emerging renewable energy materials and technologies—read about this in New Frontiers.

Quite by coincidence, there are two nuclear energy-related articles in this issue. One is a profile of Mari Angeles Major-Sosias ’85, MS ’92, whose work as director of strategy for AREVA’s North American operations could significantly shape future growth of nuclear energy in the U.S. The other is an essay in Last Word submitted by alumnus Newell Orr ’54. He argues in favor of increasing the country’s use of nuclear power.

I hope these last two items will spark some discussion. As always, we welcome the opportunity to publish your opinions about this or any other subject covered in the magazine. Please write to Mines magazine, PO Box 1410, Golden, CO 80402, or email magazine@mines.edu.

Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season.

Nick Sutcliffe
Editor and Director of Communications, CSMAA

P.S. A bit of fun: On page 52 of the magazine, we included this picture. If you are not currently living, working or studying on campus and remember where this is located, send me an email by clicking here. A winner, selected at random from all correct answers will receive a prize and be listed in the next issue of Mines..