Message from the Department Chair
Every morning when I come in (and I try to come in with the birds as Champ Tanner and Emil Truog taught us) I have a sense of excitement. Some of that comes from serious coffee loading over breakfast whilst studying my electronic calendar and must-do list. But most of that comes from the deep realization that we are working on issues that ultimately address the welfare of humankind. It is the concealed understanding of doing good work that motivates the most.
Although our science is always aiming to be cutting-edge, as a department we balance between tradition and revolution. Our tradition is one of conducting the best science, high impact teaching, and making sure our findings reach people in the state and across the world – that is where the revolution is too. The core of our work also includes training cohorts of students, mentoring new faculty, obtaining grants, writing papers, giving talks and being a good citizen in the college and university. From that, it seems that the university machine has not changed much ever since our department was founded 130 years ago – we teach, research, reach out, and provide service. We enjoy.
The tradition is also felt when we look at our scientific ancestry and those that left a significant mark on the department. This year is the 50th anniversary of Professor Emil Truog’s death. He came to the department in 1910 and was chair from 1939 to 1954 during which time he laid the foundation for the spectacular developments in the 1960s and 1970s. He mentored 100 students to their PhD degree, and 80 to their MS degree – his scientific pedigree stretches across the whole country and world. At home, he mentored two soil scientists who became National Academy Members – Champ Tanner and Marion Jackson.
It is against that background that we work every day on subjects that are relevant and vital for the future. Please stop by next time you are in Madison. We like to work, but we also like to hear from you, and can always find time to talk. Now spring is here, we could even stroll along the lake, end up on the union terrace, and chat about our traditions and the grand issues we are working on. Thank you for all your support to the Department of Soil Science.
Alfred Hartemink, Chair
To access the rest of Vol. 10, No. 2 of “Profiles,” https://uwmadison.box.com/s/g6s94jzelpwy3fbdngym03kikvqqylaw