The top of the Table of Contents opening the January 1970 issue of Geotimes
read, A special issue: 1969 in review. It highlighted key trends in
the previous years research for various earth science disciplines, starting
with economic geology (Discoveries included molybdenum, zinc, lead, silver,
copper, uranium) and ending with seismology (Frontiers for research
are artificial earthquakes and lunar studies.)
The highlighting tradition has continued in Geotimes through three decades
and into 2002. The only changes through the years have been in logistics and in
the disciplines featured astrogeology made its first appearance in the
1977 issue and is now called planetary geology.
And here we are in 2002, still facing logistical challenges and opting for a solution
that the editors of the 1970s and 1980s and even the early 1990s most likely could
not have contemplated. Welcome to the first print and Web Highlights issue. No
longer will the annual Highlights issue consume a mammoth 80 pages, compared to
the magazines normal 56-page size. Print readers will munch on a few select
tidbits. The rest is on the Web. The result: an electronic Highlights archive
that you can access and search throughout the year.
Our approach is to include in the magazine at least the beginning of each review,
with the remainder appearing on the Web. The advantage is that you can get a taste
of each topic and then decide if you want to read more online. Please give
it a go, as the Aussies say, and work with us as we devise a system that
works for you. Wed like to hear from you and we will welcome your comments.
The Highlights issue has an important and perhaps unique philosophical role. For
earth scientists focused within specific fields, it provides a view of other fields
that might impact their own work, and vice versa. For other readers, Highlights
hopefully provides a readable access to the diverse earth science fields, their
impacts on society and the planet, and the complexity of their relations to one
to another. For everyone, we hope that Highlights supports a connected and integrated
view of the earth sciences, rather than a simple assemblage of distinct fields.
As different as these fields may seem geoarchaeology, geochemistry, glaciology
and so forth they are all products of the same, fundamental earth processes,
and at some level they are related. Earth system science is a name applied to
this connected and integrated approach to the earth sciences, and
it is the constructive way to view Earth.
The issue is a challenge because of the sheer number of authors. But challenge
is welcome. We cannot say enough for the generous contributions of scientific
time, effort and just plain good will that the authors make. And the final work
product that you have before you is the inevitable result of razor-sharp attention
to details and tender-lovin care by the Geotimes staff. We are thankful
for them and what they invest in each issue!
Limiting the page count of the Highlights issue has had some other effects on
the magazine. You will find no Political Scene, Geoscience Education column or
book review. We regret these deletions but it seemed right given the priority
we set for Highlights. Perhaps, when the jostling for space settles down and we
get better at this issue, they will return. July 2003 gives us a whole year to
plan. In the meantime, you can look forward to seeing them in the August issue.
Believe your compass,
Samuel S. Adams, Editor-in-Chief