Making sense of the world around us — and each other. In many ways, no matter where and how fast our careers or lives take us, we all try to spend at least a little time trying to do just that. And while many of us may not feel that we ever truly reach enlightenment, we hope that, despite a million other tugs and obligations, we come to some comprehension of why things are the way they are. This issue highlights people who make their professional lives about understanding. People who ask questions that lead to more and more questions.
Understanding means many different things and is arrived at in many different ways. Here, you’ll read stories of discovery in the lab, where students and faculty question what is known and observe and test what is not to push the boundaries of our knowledge of the physical world further. Outside the lab, one OU professor strives to harness and understand perhaps the biggest mystery of all: love. You’ll also find one of our alumni who has spent a career fostering a love of science and discovery (and lasers — enlightening in themselves) in children, encouraging them to question, question, question the world around them.
And finally, our Gold Minds column this issue finds Jude Nixon, director of The Honors College, struggling to make sense of something that has touched just about all of our lives in one way or another — the terrorist attacks in London this summer and in our own country in 2001. Those who go after larger truths bring intellectual fortitude, open minds, and a never wavering sense of wonder to their work. In pursuing “why,” they are usually the first to encounter “why not?”
Lillian Lorenzi, editor