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From the Editor's Desk
Long and Winding Roads

I was delighted when I first saw the photographs that accompany the 100-year history of Committee D04 on Road and Paving Materials, such as the one on the cover. It takes the power of a picture to impress on those of us who only have eyes for the rear bumper in front of us just how much better things are today for drivers than they were in 1903. Take a look at the “tip truck” and spreading crew on page 24 and you might get an idea how much better things are today for road and pavement workers as well.

It’s fascinating to realize that our colleagues in D04 work for a standards-developing committee that has seen such massive changes in the stresses put on roadways and the materials of which those roadways are made. The very same committee that today standardizes flexible pavement for heavy traffic loads was, beginning in 1903, writing test methods for macadam, asphalt, and wood paving block for roads that supported fewer than 100,000 cars throughout the entire United States.

Of course, Committee D04 is not the only group that has such an impressive lineage. Since 1998, when ASTM and its “founding” technical committee — A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys — celebrated their 100th anniversaries, a trickle of committees have followed suit, including B02 on Nonferrous Metals and Alloys, C01 on Cement, and D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials, and Applications. Think of what our understanding and use of these materials must have been like in the early 20th century compared to what it is today, and you get some idea of the long and winding roads along which ASTM’s committees have traveled.

That trickle of anniversaries we’ve seen since 1998 is becoming a low roar, as more and more committees celebrate anniversaries of significance in the coming months and years. I’ve been working with our Technical Committee Operations Division to ensure that every committee has the opportunity to share its history or its celebration with the readers of SN. I hope, like me, you’ll continue to be impressed and inspired by the role played by ASTM’s technical committees in so many industries.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

Copyright 2003, ASTM