From the editor

What makes a place different from anywhere else?

You know the feeling when you're in one of these spots: There's a quality to the air, an energy in the atmosphere, an aesthetic, a magnetic something that pulls you in. Think of a novel with a sense of place so strong that the setting becomes a character in its own right.

UC Santa Cruz is one of those places. Your weakness may be the redwood groves, the rolling meadows at the base of campus, the marine layer over the hills. Perhaps it's the bustling plaza, a brilliant professor, a laboratory, a secret spot, a classroom, or some other place where youthful idealism and good ideas rise to the surface.

Maybe it's a combination of all these ingredients. Anyone who's spent time on campus knows the feeling.

It's a place that supports an exceptionally large number of flora species, from native wildflowers to Douglas firs—and, of course, an organic farm and garden. But this place also encourages a strong diversity of thought. Just being up here encourages the mind to wander outside boundaries and across disciplines. Something about the place encourages adventure and risk. It's fertile ground for the imagination.

To illustrate, we present stories about the ways UCSC has attracted and nurtured some of the most gifted creative thinkers over the years ("Brain farm"), how it's enriching bright young minds ("Phage hunters"), and how it's recently cultivated a growing crop of entrepreneurs ("From farming to pharmaceuticals, UCSC sprouts entrepreneurs").

UCSC's founders dreamed of the campus as an experimental institution of learning—marked by progressive, cross-disciplinary undergraduate education and innovative teaching methods. Some of the fruits of their labor— evidenced in profiles of 50 of our alums—can be seen in 45+5.

We can't wait to see what blooms at UC Santa Cruz next.

—Gwen Mickelson, editor