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Changing Our Tense

From the Editior in Chief

For a while now, we’ve been talking in the future tense about the “new” Technology Review. The magazine will be about innovation, will be aimed at a broad audience, and will initiate a national dialogue on technology and innovation.

Now we can start talking in the present tense: Here it is. You are reading the first issue of a new incarnation of our 99-year-old magazine. This version is, as our cover proclaims, “MIT’s Magazine of Innovation.” That’s a departure. As is everything else about this publication. We have new columnists, new departments, and (what you’ve surely already noticed) a new look, created for us by David Herbick, award-winning former art director of Civilization. Along with the design goes a new logo, fashioned for us by Don Morris, an acclaimed New York magazine designer who recently refurbished Smithsonian.

Knowing that everyone’s time is short these days, we have sharply increased the magazine’s allotment of brief, easily digestible items. The new “Prototype” department includes pithy reports from technology’s front lines: specific technical advances. “Benchmarks” takes a wider view, with concise items on market trends, R&D strategies, basic research, and policy issues.

The substance of our new magazine lies in the features-six per issue, more than we’ve had before. Among the six are two close looks at technologies that are about to break out of the labs and into practical application: combinatorial materials and “proteomics.” Our story on Xerox PARC focuses on the process of innovation-how one famous research establishment is trying to link product development to fundamental inquiry into the nature of work. And our cover story takes an even broader view. In an excerpt from his new book, The Productive Edge, Richard Lester spells out the lessons winning companies offer our society.

In the “back of the book,” you’ll find several sections that focus on the intersection of technology and culture. “Viewpoint” offers provocative essays, such as this issue’s sharply argued commentary on science journalism by Gary Taubes. “Pages” recommends some of the best new books on science, technology, and business. “Under the Dome” takes you behind the scenes here at MIT. “Trailing Edge” closes the magazine with nuggets from the history of technology.

We’re also very proud of our columnists. In “The People’s Computer,” Michael Dertouzos, head of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, focuses on making computers easier to use and how, in the process, we can bridge the gap between technology and humanism. G. Pascal Zachary, who writes for The Wall Street Journal from San Francisco, is the voice behind “Inside Innovation,” a column on what makes specific companies innovative. In his column (“Biology Inc.” ), Steve Hall, one of the nation’s best science writers, covers the revolution in medicine brought forth by biotech.

As with any new publication, this is a work-in-progress. After all, innovation isn’t just our theme-it’s our animating spirit. Innovators learn, adapt, improve; so will the new TR. In fact, we’ve already taken our first giant step by changing our tense and walking into the present. We’re here. Hello.

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