I just took this photo from the Institute mezzanine looking down towards the Great Room. The Institute’s “forest”, home to pileated woodpeckers, foxes and deer, lies in summer livery, green just beyond the windows.
It’s quiet here this time of year. Our doctoral students are still ubiquitous, but faculty are mostly on their summer travels, at scientific meetings, symposia and the like all over the world.
For me, this marks the end of my fifteenth year as director. I’ve watched a lot of changes, mostly all positive. The Institute has progressed through its adolescence and is now both stable and healthy. The challenge of course will be to keep our “fire in the mind”–to quote my friend George Johnson.
To me, that means continuing to take scientific risks, to insist on scientific excellence and to break down the barriers to gaining further knowledge, even when those barriers are formidable.
I’m lucky to serve with a brilliant scientific faculty, outstanding trainees and the best staff that an institute director could ever hope to have. At the same time, the University has transitioned to new leadership, it’s best days are still ahead of it and I’m as optimistic about the future as I’ve ever been.
Friday, I’m off to Alaska for some vacation time. I hope to read as little email as possible and to concentrate on the spectacular natural beauty of our planet–all too vulnerable, yet made all the more precious for that vulnerability.
A blog hiatus is therefore to be expected. We’ll be back around the 11th of July. Happy Summer!