From the Editor

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 year’s 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 magazine’s 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. We’d 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

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