Editorial: Small Steps Towards Progress | AIChE

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Editorial: Small Steps Towards Progress

February
2021

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CEP began publication in 1947. At that time, the world, and the field of chemical engineering, looked much different than they do today. I highly doubt that the first editors of CEP could have imagined a workplace in which a print magazine was designed and edited using only computers. And, I think they would have had an even more difficult time imagining a future where face-to-face communication is limited by a global pandemic.

But amid the great difficulties of the present, there is hope for the future. The speed with which the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were developed and their novel RNA-based method of function demonstrate the resilience and dexterity of our industry and the brilliance of our researchers. The efficacies of the new vaccines herald an eventual end to this disease.

More hope comes in the form of President Biden’s promise of a clean energy revolution to address climate change and a swift return to the Paris Climate Agreement. (For more information on climate change and to read AIChE’s Climate Change Policy Statement, check out CEP’s new digital special issue, “Thinking About Climate,” at aiche.org/cep/climate-issue.) Biden also recently announced his nomination for presidential science advisor, which, for the first time, will be elevated to a cabinet-level position.

I’m personally excited for the future as I step into the role of Editor-in-Chief of CEP this year. Although I am new to this role, I am not new to CEP; 2021 marks my ninth year with the magazine. In many ways, I plan to emulate the leadership style of my predecessor and mentor, Cindy Mascone. Over the next several years, I will focus on three objectives: growing CEP readership through an expanded online presence; continuing our legacy of editorial excellence; and strengthening our reputation as the go-to, trusted source of technical content for chemical engineers.

We have already made great strides in growing our online presence. When I began my job at CEP in 2012, our online magazine was limited to a series of PDFs. A few years later, we began offering all articles in HTML format as well. And, a few years after that, we launched the CEP app. The past five years saw significant growth in the number of visitors to the CEP website, as well as the number of articles being read. In 2020, over 300,000 users viewed our webpages more than a million times — representing an 88% increase in pageviews from 2019.

Last year, I led a project to launch a new online format of CEP: the digital flipbook. The flipbook was in part inspired by the pandemic and the changes it brought about. Many of our readers have the print edition mailed to their offices and stored in their desks, and were therefore separated from their hard copies for weeks when they were required to work from home. Our goal with the digital flipbook was to offer our membership an identical version of the print edition that they could access on any device.

More than anything, I want the magazine to reflect our membership as it grows and evolves. History will remember this time period as one of tumultuous change. Now, as always, I count myself lucky to be a chemical engineer — a profession that is embracing diversity, curbing the pandemic, and solving some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.

Emily Petruzzelli, Editor-in-Chief

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