[[Happy April Fool’s Day everyone! I’ll be resuming making decisions on Nature Chemistry papers that are not at all based on the outcomes of digital card games on Monday. Have a nice weekend!]]
Let’s talk card games—specifically Magic: the Gathering. At this point, I imagine some number of my readers/Twitter followers have discovered that I do enjoy playing the nearly 25 year old card game. Magic is one of the most popular card games worldwide, and so it’s not entirely surprising that I’ve built a deck or two. In fact, I have had the opportunity to attend major tournaments in multiple countries and have had modest success at these events. My connection with the game is a bit deeper than that, though.
In particular, I got really into Magic about the same time that my career in chemistry was just barely kicking off. While I had played as a child on the school bus, it was April 2013 when my now-colleague David Schilter bumped into me in the UIUC NMR room and casually asked me if I would like to go play some Magic over the weekend — at the time I thought he meant he was going to a magic show, but I had jack all to do and really, really needed to get out of the lab, so I agreed to go. After getting past the initial confusion, I was hooked. Over the next few years, Magic went from being a way to socialize and blow off steam to a real competitive endeavor and an actual revenue stream, as it turns out people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for individual Magic cards. While most people characterize the game as a needlessly complex diversion from Dungeons & Dragons, I believe that it is really an important distraction from life itself — I mean, seriously, if your reaction doesn’t work, what’s more satisfying than using a giant, book-loving Elder Dragon to kill a legendary flying hippo?
So, given my tradition of announcing career transitions on this blog, I am proud to announce that I am leaving my position as Editor of Nature Chemistry to become a professional Magic: the Gathering player. I realized that this announcement was important to deliver before the ACS meeting, for the sake of transparency (and the hope of the odd pick-up game of Commander). The transition really makes sense for me; upon reflection, my favorite part of my transition to editorial work is the increased amount of time I had available to play Magic. Indeed, most of my decisions recently have been made by logging into Magic: the Gathering Online and playing a game of Legacy with Goblin Charbelcher — if I win, the paper goes out to review, and if I lose, the authors get a reject letter. By taking on Magic full-time, I realize that I can detach my success rate from this fickle game called “science” and really focus on honing my craft, a craft which I expect will bring me far more recognition than I ever had for my endeavors in chemistry. I look forward to working with the Magic community and you, dear readers, in this new role. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the website for my newly formed Magic team (I’m still looking for new members, if you’d like to join Team FeCoNi!) and leave a comment here.