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March 31, 2005
Thanks for writing!

The response to our decidedly nonscientific survey of readers of Science@Berkeley Lab (formerly Science Beat) is in, and we appreciate what you shared with us. The results were gratifying even when they weren't surprising, for example that 60 percent of those of you who responded read every issue, or that almost half of you visit the site when you're alerted by our e-mails — meaning you are already on the Berkeley Lab news mailing list (those who'd like to subscribe can do so by going here).

Another 40 percent of you apparently wait until you see that a new issue of Science@Berkeley Lab has been posted on the Berkeley Lab home page — also gratifying, because it supports the notion that our home page itself is an important way to keep people informed about what goes on at the Lab.

Nor were we surprised to hear that half of you describe yourselves as science fans, not professionals (including overlaps with science teachers, students, and writers). We're delighted to reach you, and learning that more than another third of you are professional scientists indicates we're having some success conveying the science done at Berkeley Lab to a readership with critical abilities and broad interests beyond their fields of specialty.

In addition to your many kind comments there were suggested improvements too, and we'll do what we can to implement these as soon as we can — for example, making it easier to forward our articles by email. One suggestion we'll decline, however, and I hope our respondent, a writer, will understand why: rather than giving unit measurements in the English system first, we'll continue to state them in metrics first (unless our proofreading eye wanders). It's true that Americans don't yet think in metrics, but we'd like to do our part to ease that overdue change.

To reiterate, we're well aware that our voluntary survey has little statistical significance. Nevertheless, any comments you have are important to us. We're retiring the survey now that last month's issue has gone into the archives, but we're always delighted to hear from you at any time: just drop us an email.

The Editors