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Posts by Nancy L. Ross

Tribute to Paul H. Ribbe 1935–2017

Paul Hubert Ribbe, a giant in the field of mineralogy, passed away 24 June 2017 at the age of 82. Just eight weeks earlier, he was preceded in death by Elna Ribbe, his wife of almost 59 years. Paul was born 2 April 1935 in Bristol, Connecticut (USA), to the Reverend Walter and Grace Ribbe. He obtained his BS from Wheaton College (Illinois, USA) and his MS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA), both in geology. He was the first American Fulbright Scholar admitted to Magdalene College, University of Cambridge (UK), where he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory with the legendary crystallographer Helen Megaw. He was awarded a PhD in 1963 for his research on the crystal structure of plagioclase feldspars. Following a short post-doc (University of Chicago, USA) and an assistant professorship (University of California, Los Angeles, USA), in 1966, Paul and Elna moved to Blacksburg (Virginia, USA) where he joined the Department of Geology at Virginia Tech. Paul became part of a powerhouse of talent in mineralogy and petrology that included Donald Bloss, Gerald Gibbs, Charles Gilbert, and the late David Wones.

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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.

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Return from the “Dark Side”

In 2004, I assumed an administrative role in my university, thus joining what is commonly referred to as the “Dark Side” of academia. I have only just returned to my position as a faculty member. Some pursue administration as a career path and expect to move up the academic ladder, progressing from department head, to dean, to provost, and, perhaps, even to president. Others, like myself, view administration as an intriguing experiment: I certainly didn’t anticipate staying away from a faculty role for so long (almost 13 years). Like many faculty, I had little experience with organizational leadership when I joined the Dark Side. I was like a Padawan apprentice (another reference from Star Wars) aspiring to be a Jedi and greatly in need of master Yoda’s training.

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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.

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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.

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About v13n1, Thank You Gordon Brown, Welcome Nancy Ross!

Volcanoes are the powerhouses of nature that can, within minutes, transform a beautiful mountainscape into a desolate landscape devoid of life. Whether eruptions are mild or catastrophic, volcanoes fascinate and captivate us. As this issue goes to press (February 2017), there are 33 volcanoes erupting throughout the world, with another 1,500 active volcanoes slumbering until the conditions are right for an eruption. Some of those slumbering volcanoes have nasty histories, such as the supervolcano Campi Flegrei (near Naples, Italy) that is currently making headlines because it is seemingly approaching a “critical state”. The articles in this issue present our current understanding of how such volcanoes work and give us a glimpse into the world of magma – how it is formed and how it is transported to the surface. Much remains unknown the plumbing systems of volcanoes or what triggers an eruption. But, as you will read, scientists are making significant progress in uncovering the secrets of these powerhouses, which ultimately helps our world to be a safer place to live.

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