LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
A NOTE ON OUR SUMMER THEME: WILDERNESS
The term “wilderness” is charged with both negative and positive connotations. On one hand, it refers to a space that is barren, desolate and lonely. Wilderness represents a sphere beyond human control, where the forces of nature mete out cruelty and chaos. Samuel Johnson, the great eighteenth century literary critic, defined the word in his dictionary as “a tract of solitude and savageness.” We may lose ourselves wandering in such a place.
On the other hand, though, wilderness connotes freedom and adventure. When we seek the wild, we open our minds to new perspectives. We grow through fresh experiences. And instead of losing ourselves as we wander through trackless regions, we may discover the elements of our characters that matter most.
The process of conducting research resembles both the exciting and the terrifying aspects of wilderness. At times, the frustrating work of searching for a topic or conducting dozens of tests may feel like aimless wandering; the hours spent pondering in solitude can evoke the loneliness of a wasteland. We may forget why we embarked on a project in the first place or question our aptitude for research as a whole. In other moments, though, we’ll be carried away by the heady thrill of discovery and savor the freedom of exploring new concepts. Our passion for knowledge gives us fresh intellectual strength. We feel like explorers, tracing a pathway of ideas which other travelers have overlooked.
In Brevia’s summer issue, “Wilderness,” we invite you to explore four inspiring pathways of inquiry. Reece Akana’s Features essay discusses gene therapy, still largely an uncharted territory in the American pharmaceutical industry. Teddy Chappell’s Primary Research article traces the theories of nature in the work of a little-studied Renaissance thinker, Antonio Nardi. Alan Yang’s essay discusses the new frontiers in antibiotic development. And Henry Bauer’s Primary Research piece examines the wilderness that lies within language, the aspects of grammar that defy even the most carefully constructed linguistic theories.
We hope that these articles will take you on an exhilarating intellectual journey and inspire you to explore. The wilderness of research can be intimidating, but like the wilderness of nature, it can also be supremely beautiful.
Alan Yang and Jessi Glueck
Co-Editors in Chief
Co-Editors in Chief, Brevia
EXPLORE SUMMER 2016: WILDERNESS