Charles Dickens said it best. We live in both the best of times and the worst.
We live in an age of unprecedented innovation. Always on the path to create a better quality of life or to transcend ourselves into an unknown "new," we humans are ever discovering. The research we conduct, lead, or assist in so many ways is part of this inner urge. In our day and age, the beauty of discovery comes with breathtaking rapidity. In a sense, the modern world is always learning to live at increasing gigahertz speeds. This is not to be discounted.
In recent years, we have come to appreciate and celebrate the amazing ability of research scholarship and experimentation to grasp opportunities, confront enigmas, and find solutions with ever greater velocity and efficiency. The rapidity of technology and innovation has held out important promise for our age and the generations to come. It always will. In fact, for those of us in research administration and leadership, the articles in this edition of the Journal themselves present a wide variety of perspectives that show our own rapid innovations for our profession as a science and an art capable of meeting new and important needs for our institutions, our researchers, and the public we serve.
Yet there is something else.
While we rightly celebrate the rapidity of innovation regardless of discipline or profession, the speed of success can be an alluring temptation to a less than positive preoccupation with profit or fame. Success can breed self-satisfaction. The ease of speed can make too attractive methods and means that undermine substance and worth. There is then a downside to the blur of technological innovations that blare across the media.
Despite all of the amazing social strategies and scientific technologies that have emerged so rapidly in the modern marketplace, it is sobering to remember that we closed the last decade with a downward economic spiral that dashed the hopes of many, and the threat of a new potential terrorist attack on a flight approaching a Midwest metropolis. We began this new decade with the horror of an earthquake that has shattered the lives of the people of an already impoverished island nation, and equally shattered the illusions of the rest of us who can forget too easily that we are citizens of a larger geography that we cannot control.
In response to these tragedies, we have seen the goodness of others who have tried to build up the hopes of those who have lost employment...