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Letter from the Editor | 318

Independence, 200 years later

This issue’s letter from the editor, which usually features on page 7, has been moved to page 71, requiring a somewhat different approach. If the primary objective is to present the issue, what should be said when linear readers are already two-thirds of the way through the magazine?

The Pesquisa FAPESP team meets on a regular basis to discuss ideas for the upcoming issue and for the publication in the medium term. When we identified this important anniversary in 2022 and the need for a special edition, the first question we asked ourselves was: what is new and exciting in research on the Independence of Brazil? After 200 years, documents are still being discovered, data reanalyzed, and new perspectives formed, offering a comprehensive view of a complex historical moment that is essential to understanding Brazil. History is continuously reinterpreted.

Glenda Mezarobba, the magazine’s humanities editor, came up with and produced the Independence section on our website, which in addition to this issue, totals more than 30 articles, videos, and podcasts. Her presentation on page 6 offers an overview of this media collection, noting that our collective effort has culminated in this special issue but does not end here.

As our investigations advanced, it became apparent that we needed to pay particular attention to the images we chose. Paintings, drawings, and engravings produced at the time reflect the aesthetic standards and ways the world was seen in that era. They must be viewed today from a critical perspective, without diminishing their importance but also without promoting the idea of an official iconography of the historical process. We invited a special art editor for this bicentennial—graphic designer Gustavo Piqueira—to offer his thoughts on the topic.

Although we had enough special content to fill the entire issue, we decided to also include a reduced version of the magazine in its usual format. In politics, we report on how the pandemic has affected medical journals. A study with 700 participants is examining the possibility that depression in the elderly can be an early sign of dementia. The science section also includes an article on climate change, describing a study that concluded that May’s devastating rainfall in Northeast Brazil was 20% heavier due to climate change. In technology, a device created by a UNICAMP physicist and launched by an American company this year increases the efficiency of scanning tunneling microscopes, which produce images on a nanometric scale. The section also features a report on the criteria for classifying the products of stingless Brazilian bees, whose diversity does not fit the standard developed for the ubiquitous African bee.