At some point in my childhood, I became fascinated with the periodic table. I liked the friendly way it looked, as if each square were a nametag showing its element’s one- or two-letter nickname. It was ordered, but not symmetrical, which appealed to both sides of my brain. I remember staring at that table, trying to learn all of those nicknames—my favorite was K, for potassium.
Since my school days, the periodic table has been expanded—four new elements added just last year! It amazes me that everything in our world is made from the substances described in that array of numbered boxes… and yet scientists keep discovering more, synthesizing and creating, adding new nametags and welcoming entirely new elements to the party.
Yet the most interesting thing about chemistry is that, no matter how well you know the facts about each individual element, it’s only the beginning. The really interesting stuff is what happens when those elements are brought together. They become catalysts, reactors, neutralizers, exploders (that’s a scientific term, right? Exploders?) It’s all about relationship. It is no wonder that, when two people are getting along well, we say they have “good chemistry.”
Clearly, I became a writer, not a scientist. That is why, for this month’s cover feature, we asked a few paper chemistry experts to share their thoughts on “good chemistry” for pulp and papermakers: the innovations that have changed what we can make and do, and will continue to make new things possible. We’ve also got an interview with RISI’s European CEO of the Year, Berry Wiersum, who has been creating good chemistry of his own for Sappi Europe.
Plus, you’ll find a report on innovation and jobs, a look at the reboot of Ecologic Brands, and exclusive interviews with two keynoters from TAPPI’s upcoming International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials. A chemist might say this issue is “supersaturated” with terrific content. And don’t forget, we’re always looking for more—feel free to drop me a note with your story ideas and suggestions.
By the way, PaperCon (where this issue will receive extra distribution) is not the only great thing about April. April is also National Poetry Month. Like chemistry, poetry is all about relationships—between words, between images, between the poem and the page, or the poet and the reader. I challenge Paper360° readers to seek out some poetry during April. In fact, did you hear about the chemist who started reading poems out loud in the lab?
He got a great reaction!
LARRY N. MONTAGUE
President & CEO, TAPPI
VP Operations, TAPPI
Senior Editor, North and South America
Senior Editor, Europe and Asia
Editorial Director, TAPPI Journal
INTEGRATED MEDIA DIRECTOR
[email protected] (352) 333-3345
BK Publication Design