For those of you who used to follow my weekly column, you know that it was filled with random facts and strange out of the way statistics. I apologize in advance if that’s what you were expecting.

This is my farewell column. So I’ll say it:

Research at UCSB is great because it’s interdisciplinary.

I have that written down in quotes on dozens of notepads. It shows up on 40 or so of my interview tapes. I’ve heard it more often than that. So why hasn’t it ever appeared in an article?

Well, it’s a catch phrase. That’s why. And the Nexus hates catch phrases. I should explain.

Catch phrases are a great way to avoid specifics. For instance, if you were ever an A.S. candidate and wonder why you never got the paper’s endorsement, it’s probably because your interview went something like this:

DAILY NEXUS: So what do you plan to do if you take office in June?

CANDIDATE: I plan to facilitate radical change.

DN: That sounds great. How?

C: By helping people to organize against their struggles.

DN: What will you do when you’ve organized?

C: We’ll raise awareness.

DN: And what will that do?

C: It will facilitate radical change.

DN: How?

C: By helping people to organize. …

Alright, so you get the picture. I should say here that I have nothing against activism. I voted for activists, but I voted for the ones who knew the names of local representatives and could specifically name a struggle they were interested in.

And I should also say that just because something’s a catch phrase doesn’t mean it isn’t true. So, I wanted to write it once and for all – because I agree – the best thing about doing research at UCSB is that it’s interdisciplinary.

It was a great place to design my own major. It was a great place to be the science editor for the college paper. It’s a place where engineers, physicists, programmers, chemists, geologists, geographers and biologists all work together and know each other’s names – and where you never know who you’ll be talking to next week.

I learned a lot. I had fun here. I got to meet Freeman Dyson, Robert Ballard and trade e-mails with the crown prince of Tonga. Maybe you don’t know who these folks are, but if you were a nerd, you’d be excited too. I got to learn about macular degeneration, Laughlin quasiparticles and cluster computing and visit nuclear laboratories.

I got to make and work with some of my best friends in college and pick up a regular paycheck for doing the things I was interested in.

The Nexus has its flaws. But from day to day, it’s been a wonderful place to work and a lot of fun to read. I’m glad to have been a part of that.

And, according to a paper in the March 2003 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, there is a one in 200 chance that a man living today is a direct patrilineal descendant of Ghengis Khan.

Thank you.

Josh Braun was the Daily Nexus science and technology editor. He graduates in one week.