For many of us, January is the month when we come back from a brief end-of-the-year break. Like many, I took some time off as the year ended, reflected on 2014, and spent time planning for 2015. I unwound with a few books, including All the Light We Cannot See, the Anthony Doerr novel set during World War II that is currently on best-seller lists, and the final book of Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, Edge of Eternity. Those books got me thinking about history. As I write this in mid-January, we just commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day and reflected on his pivotal role in history. For us in North America, King is the person most identified with human rights, and he joins Nelson Mandela from Africa, Lech Walesa from Europe, Mahatma Gandhi from Asia, and others around the world who as individuals made a strong historical difference.
In our own way, we at CRS have a great history we should also commemorate. For many years we have acknowledged our leaders with awards. In 2009 we created a special way to acknowledge the luminaries in our field with a Foundation Award. In that year and subsequent years we have honored Joe Robinson, Jorge Heller, Tsuneji Nagai, Sun Wan Kim, and Sandy Florence. I am pleased to announce we will continue this recognition in Edinburgh in 2015, recognizing Nicholas Peppas. In previous years CRS has recognized these leaders by establishing a one-year postdoctoral position for one individual in a lab of their choosing. Going forward we are electing to use those funds to more aggressively sponsor young scientists to attend our annual meeting. With this new focus, the program is designed to support multiple students to attend the CRS meeting so those students have a chance to experience the signature event in our society and to learn from and meet with other delivery scientists. This new focus is consistent with the long-term vision of CRS and provides an even better way to honor our luminaries and continue the wonderful history of our society.
You were probably already excited about the meeting in Edinburgh. Now you should be even more so given the opportunity to acknowledge Nicholas. Please also read more at our website on how you can contribute and be part of this opportunity, both to recognize Nicholas’s many accomplishments in our field and contributions to our society and to invest in the next generation of scientists.
I want to provide a few more updates on the annual meeting. While we appreciate and will build on our great history, as you have probably seen from emails and other communications, we are working to add some changes so that we have the most interactive and enjoyable meeting ever. Many of the leading scientists around the world have seen this updated format and are responding by submitting what looks to be a record-breaking number of abstracts. Also, as you know, we will have an increased industry focus, once again renewing our commitment to that fruitful exchange between academia and industry that has been an integral part the rich CRS history. Our annual banquet, once a highlight of our yearly gathering, has over recent years been more sparsely attended due to extra costs for attendees. This year we have developed an updated event, included in the meeting registration, that will be a fun taste and experience of Scottish history. This event will be a great networking experience for all attendees.
Finalize your plans to join us in Edinburgh this July. Come and celebrate the history of CRS, and build (or start) your own history within our society. Plan a few extra days to enjoy Edinburgh and Scotland, and as I am telling people, “Come for the Science, Stay for Some Haggis!”