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Letter from the editor | 104

Between celebrating and narrating

Before commenting on this issue’s menu, to my mind, by the way, sufficiently tasty and succulent to satisfy demanding types, I would like to share with our readers our happiness for one more victory from professionals from the magazine’s team: in September, Pesquisa FAPESP conquered the first two places for the Reporting Award on the Biodiversity of the Atlantic Rain Forest, in the printed media category, granted by the Alliance for the Conservation of the Atlantic Rain Forest. It was not the first time that the magazine has done well in this award; in the two previous years, its ensured its presence among the national media outlets that, in the assessment of this NGO, published the best articles about the Atlantic Rain Forest in the period. But this time the magazine went further and, with the two articles entered, guaranteed, so to speak, no less than the gold and silver prizes in the competition a feat that we commemorate openly, without false modesty and without taking on a false blasé air.

The article that merited the first prize was The forest is born again, by Carlos Fioravanti, Ricardo Zorzetto and Marcello Ferroni, published in issue No. 91, of September 2003. The first has been this magazine’s science editor since 1999, the second has been an assistant editor since 2002, and the third, currently linked to the Globo publishing house, has collaborated with us from time to time. Enriched by the insertion into the magazine of a large map, under the title The green in São Paulo made viable by the work of the coordinators of the Biota-FAPESP Program, in particular Carlos Alfredo Joly, the text showed that the natural vegetation of São Paulo had recovered 3.8% of the space lost in the last few decades, because although the Cerrado is almost coming to an end, the Atlantic Rain Forest had started growing again. The second prize was for the extremely curious article The webs of intelligence, by Ricardo Zorzetto, published in issue No. 93, of November 2003, which showed how the capacity for memorizing information makes it possible for these small animals to perfect their instinctive hunting habits. Fioravanti, about whom I have already spoken on previous occasions, is, at the age of 43, a mature professional and, I insist, one of the best professionals in the country at work in scientific journalism. His prize will give him the right, after a passage through London, to accompany the 3rd World Nature Congress, in Bangkok, between November 17 and 25, one of the largest environmental conservation events. Zorzetto, at the age of 29, is a very talented young man, which digs out the information until exhaustion, to present it in an irreprehensible way, in well prepared, elegant and harmonious texts. His prize earned him a check for R$ 4,000. Toasting their success was a pleasure.

But let us go to a few comments about the issue. In the cover article, special editor Marcos Pivetta outlines, from page 42 onwards, a vast and fascinating panorama about the search for planets more like the Earth, around stars similar to the Sun, which astronomers have been engaged in for several years, and which, finally, in August, began to proved successful: three planets with masses between 14 and 18 times that of the Earth were announced by teams of researchers from Europe and from the United States, who have been competing in this race, in which, by the way, there is a discrete Brazilian participation. It is fascinating reading. Still in the field of science, worthy of mention is the article signed by Fioravanti about the advances of the applications of mathematical physics in fields as diverse as the propagation of tumor cells, or, better still, the best way for the president of a company to lead his team. Strange? You had better check it out from page 50 onwards.

In the domains of technology, assistant editor Dinorah Ereno details on page 70 and following the versatility of uses of curaua fiber, which, submitted to innovative processes, has been proving to be suitable for making up car coverings and sophisticated cloths. Let it be recorded that the curaua of the same family as the pineapple, used for centuries by the Indians in the manufacture of hammocks and fishing lines.

In humanities, we publish an article by special reporter Fabrício Marques about research that, going into the nub of daily life in slums and peripheral districts of São Paulo, reveals, from page 84 onwards, how violence conditions it and how it becomes a symbol of the veritable destitution of the civil and social rights of the dwellers from these areas. To wrap it up, a present from the magazine to its readers: The Homage, a fine tale by Ivana Arruda Leite, in which she explores with sensitivity the contradictions of the soul of an old professor, between jubilation and fear, between vanity and insecurity. It is the first of the magazine’s fiction section, the purpose of which is to reflect, in a literary manner, about the most diverse aspects of the research activity. Good reading!