Book Review — Thermodynamics in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Thermodynamics is a vast subject with a long and complex history. It is now about two hundred years since the general acceptance of the ideal gas equation of state (PV = nRT) (e.g., Biot 1816) and the discovery of limiting behaviour in the high temperature heat capacity of elemental solids (Petit and Dulong 1819). Since then, empirical thermodynamic laws and statistical thermodynamic models have revolutionised our understanding of a myriad of physical and chemical processes and material properties. Thermodynamics underpins much of our modern lifestyle and our understanding of the natural world. It plays, in the words of Russian Nobel laureate in chemistry Ilya Prigogine, “a fundamental role far beyond its original scope” (Prigogine 1977).

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v16n3 From the Editors

When we started finalizing this issue for publication the prospect of a pandemic seemed very distant. In the intervening three months, COVID-19 has come to dominate everything: our conversations, news broadcasts, our working patterns, and our social lives. For many, this has been a tragic time, and we extend our condolences to all those readers of Elements who have lost loved ones and colleagues to COVID-19. For scholars, this is an uncertain time, as universities and research organizations take stock of the impact of the pandemic on their activities, and their financial well-being. The dramatic drop in student mobility across the world is already starting to take a toll on university income and may yet pose an existential threat. On a brighter note, it is hard to overlook the benefits of having cleaner air, happier wildlife, and lower global emissions due to our traveling less.

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v16n2 From the Editors

Light interacts with matter in different ways. It can be absorbed, transmitted, reflected, or scattered. Scientists can measure those light–matter interactions to reveal incredible details about the structure and reactivity of matter. When it comes to scattered light, it is likely you are most familiar with Rayleigh scattering, in which light is elastically scattered by small molecules and the wavelength (or color) doesn’t change. It is the reason behind the blue color of the sky. Maybe less familiar is the small amount of light (typically 0.0000001%) that is scattered at different wavelengths. This inelastic scattering of light, or Raman effect, is due to the incident light interacting with the chemical structure (bonding) within the matter. The Raman effect may be small (only about 1 part in 10 million), but it is mighty. Discover why by reading the articles in this issue of Elements.

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v15n6 From the Editors

The copy of Elements you are holding in your hands (or reading online) is the result of the creativity and expertise of our 18 participating socities, authors, editors, reviewers, graphic designers, business and administrative staff, print and shipping vendors, and advertisers. Every issue represents hundreds of hours of effort by many individuals working together for a common goal … to deliver Elements to you, the reader. Elements is a joint endeavour. Each year, in our final issue, we take a moment to extend our appreciation to those that brought Elements to life. This year is no different.

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v15n1 From the Editors

With the start of 2019, John M. Eiler joins the Elements editorial team. He is taking on the role as our geochemistry principal editor.
There are so many more topics to feature in Elements. In March 2019, the editorial team will meet to evaluate proposals for inclusion in our lineup. We invite you to contact one of the Elements editors and submit a thematic proposal for consideration!

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