In This Issue
Summer Issue of The Bridge on Energy, the Environment, and Climate Change
July 3, 2015 Volume 45 Issue 2

From the Editor in Chief

Monday, July 6, 2015

Author: Ronald M. Latanision

First, I want to thank guest editor Bob Armstrong for assembling a superb issue on the challenges in moving forward to meet both the growing demand for energy and the growing concern of global warming and its impacts on the lives of those who do and who will inhabit the Earth.

In this issue we continue with our interviews of engineers who have affected the culture of this nation in many ways beyond what one typically envisions of engineers. Recent issues presented interviews with poet Richard Blanco, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff of the Bush (41) White House John Sununu, and writer Henry Petroski. This issue features former NFL player Charley Johnson.

Charley has had a remarkable career: he is a PhD chemical engineer who was an NFL quarterback, a professor of chemical engineering, and the founder of a compressor company that served the oil and gas industry. As always, managing editor Cameron Fletcher joined me in the conversation.

I did ask Charley about Deflategate. As it happens, we spoke on the day that the NFL draft began and before the Wells Report was issued. His response was predictable for a chemical engineer and even for this materials engineer (who happens to be a fan of Tom Brady and the Patriots!). Of course, I have always had a passion for sports and so I am concerned about the integrity of sports in general. But it seems an interesting and perhaps troubling statement of our times that so much attention has been directed to this issue. At any rate, Cameron and I enjoyed this conversation with Charley.We also introduce in this issue a new dimension for the Bridge, op-eds. We now believe, based on the number of comments that we receive from our readers, that an op-ed column is a useful addition. It gives us the flexibility to accommodate viewpoints other than those expressed by our authors and to introduce in a timely manner a perspective or opinion on matters of importance to our readers that go beyond what appears in a given thematic issue.

We are mindful that this must be managed carefully, and so have crafted the following guidelines:

  • We have adopted the standard of major daily newspapers, namely, that submissions of any length are welcomed, but those longer than 800 words are unlikely to be accepted.
  • The editors reserve the right to determine what we publish in this column.
  • We do not wish to constrain expression or opinion, but we do wish to avoid overt commercial endorsement or political partisanship.
  • We will include the op-ed author’s email address as a means of stimulating meaningful dialogue with readers. As such, we will include the following footnote to that effect: “Readers wishing to comment on this piece are invited to contact the author (email) and/or the editor in chief (email).”

Our first op-ed, by Michael Golay, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concerns climate change and appears in this issue. He argues for a framework that has the potential to transition to a global low-carbon economy but requires government action, international collaboration, and political will. This is a challenge by any measure but, in my view, one worth taking on.

As always, your comments are welcome; please send them to me at rlatanision@exponent.com.

About the Author:Ronald M. Latanision (NAE) is a senior fellow at Exponent, Inc. in Natick, MA.