Welcome to the future
Stephen L. Petranek
IN THE INAUGURAL ISSUE OF DISCOVER 20 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, Leon Jaroff, the magazine’s founding editor, wrote that we had crossed into an era in which “people may still fail to understand science, but they cannot be smug about their deficiency. What science does, and how, flashes persistently across our lives with an immediacy that demands a new kind of comprehension.” Two decades later, Jaroff’s observation remains true. You hold in your hands the healthy, vibrant proof–a magazine that sells a million copies every month to readers who cherish it because they know how much their lives are affected by science and technology, and they want to comprehend it.
That need to “get it” is greater than ever before because the pace of change driven by science constantly threatens to become overwhelming. You do not want to be behind this curve. Just a few examples: Guided by our mushrooming knowledge of genetics, we are on the verge of figuring out how to create new life-forms using parts of existing life-forms. We are in the midst of a revolution in communications spurred by the convergence of computers, phones, and TVs–all transmitting wirelessly. And, thanks to a NASA probe scheduled for launch next spring, we are within reach of answering many of the greatest cosmological questions ever asked about the nature of the universe.
That’s why Discover is aimed squarely at you, at readers who demand to understand our amazing shifting world of knowledge. That’s why the editors of Discover think of the magazine as nothing less than a manual for the new millennium. And that’s why all of us are excited and pleased–not only to share with you important observations about the significant moments in science during our first 20 years but also to boldly look ahead and prepare you for what lies ahead during the next 20 years. We hope you enjoy this very special issue and that you will be with us each month in the years ahead as we help illuminate the way.
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COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group