Elements Covers

Posts by Friedhelm von Blanckenburg

v14n2 About This Issue, John Eiler, Conferences, Propose Topic

We are excited to announce that John M. Eiler, Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and Geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (USA) has agreed to join the Elements editorial team as our next geochemistry editor. His official term begins January 2019. He will replace Friedhelm von Blanckenburg whose term of office ends December 2018. We will introduce John more formally at a later date.

Read More

The Excitement of Science Discoveries in the Blue Sky

The articles in this “Comets” issue of Elements provide a fascinating account of comets and the making of our planetary system. We learn why comets are visible to the naked eye and about their complex organic geochemistry, the surprising find of free O2, and the likelihood of a comet impact on Earth. Perhaps most impressively, we learn about the tremendous effort that goes into the exploration of comets. These missions require decades of design, planning, and instrument miniaturization and their culmination captures our imagination in a way little else can. Who could not be enthralled by the evocatively named Stardust mission returning a few thousand grains of dust from comet Wild 2 to Earth? We collectively shared the despair when communication was lost from Rosetta’s Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and the excitement about the unparalleled wealth of information sent back during its 70 hours of life on the comet’s surface.

Read More

v13n6 About this Issue, Thanks!, 2018 Preview and Future Issues

In our final issue of 2017, we like to take a moment to extend our appreciation to the guest editors and authors who contributed to the six issues of volume 13. These men and women volunteered their valuable time for writing interesting and accessible articles for Elements’ scientifically diverse audience. We also thank our feature editors (Ian Parsons, Michael Wiedenbeck, Cari Corrigan, and Andrea Koziol) who produce the Parting Shots, The Elements Toolkit, CosmoElements, and the Meetings Calendar. We also acknowledge the reviewers, our copyeditor Patrick Roycroft, and our graphic artist Michel Guay, who diligently work in the background to bring Elements to life.

Read More

Your Next Conference: Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Stay at Home

Last year, I left a terrible carbon footprint. On top of an already travel-packed year, I flew from Berlin to San Francisco for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall meeting. With my >18,000 km round trip to San Francisco, I emitted ~2 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere (which alone amounts to the global per capita emissions required by 2050 to meet the 2 °C warming goal, not even counting my energy consumption for everyday life).

Read More

v13n5 About This Issue, 2017 Editorial Meeting

On Sunday, 13 August 2017, the Elements editorial team held their annual staff meeting in Paris (France). The meeting was an invaluable opportunity for our international team to discuss, face-to-face, editorial matters. We addressed the problems and logistics of handling manuscripts, evaluating proposals, setting the topical lineup for the first half of 2019, and we explored the challenges and opportunities for our magazine in this digital age of the internet, social media, and YouTube. We also met with the Elements Executive Committee. The members of this committee represent the 17 participating societies and it is they who oversee the financial aspects of our publication. It was a long but productive day.

Read More

About v13n4 – One in a Million; 2016 Impact Factor = 4.0

Due to its impact on global climate, carbon is the element that currently dominates the public debate. Why publish an issue on boron when the public is focusing on carbon? As you read the articles in this issue, what you will find is that boron is a “quintessential” terrestrial element. Although rare in the Solar System, Earth’s tectonic and weathering processes have concentrated boron within the Earth’s upper continental crust, where we are completely dependent on it for everyday life.

Read More

About v13n3, Jon Blundy new PE, Elements at Goldschmidt2017, Propose a Topic

Rock and mineral coatings, the thin and fascinating varnishes portrayed in this issue of Elements, are found in deserts, soils, sediment, oceans, Mars and on buildings or other manmade structures. They record the legacy of millions of years of ocean circulation, thousands of years of climate change, and tens of years of anthropogenic contaminant dispersal. Rock coatings teach us how life can both dissolve and form minerals and how it can survive some of the most extreme environmental conditions. Our early ancestors used petroglyphs carved into these coatings to depict hunting scenes, religious and cultural context, and to communicate geographical, and even astronomical, information. On every continent (except Antarctica), we can view some of our cultural heritage, preserved over thousands of years. Rock coatings have even been spotted on Mars by the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

Read More

Sleeping Beauties and the Grind of Scientific Communication

An article on the “sleeping beauties” in science (Ke et al. 2015) recently appeared on my desk (or more accurately, on my desktop). “Sleeping beauties” in science have been defined by van Raan (2004) to be publications that go unnoticed for a long time and then suddenly attract a great deal of attention. The “sleeping beauty” concept prompted me to review whether their existence is a component of our current publication practices. Do we have the incentive to develop risky ideas or the time to put together significant, paradigm-shifting papers?

Read More

About v13n2, Sulfur or Sulphur?, Call for Proposals, Social Media

Elements magazine tries hard to be an internationally oriented and inclusive scientific publication. As such, Elements accepts texts written in American English or British English and it has been Elements’ policy to allow authors to choose between the American or British writing style and spelling. Our purpose in this is to pay respect to international differences and, as a result, help preserve these differences.

Read More