Beginning in 1998, papers published in the past year in American Mineralogist
are considered for the Best Paper Award. The choice is made on the basis
Impact. How will the paper change the way we think about a problem? Is
the problem important to the field of mineralogy (or beyond)?
Scientific content. How well-grounded are the scientific approach, results,
and conclusions? Does it highlight new and emerging areas of research
in the mineralogical sciences?
Innovation/originality. How clever or new are the methods, results, and
conclusions? Have the authors made a discovery of a new phenomenon or developed
a new theory or model?
Organization and readability. Is the paper accessible to a broad audience,
despite the need for specialization. Could a nonspecialist read the paper
and realize the significance of the problem and work? Could a nonspecialist
get excited about the results?
Previous American Mineralogist Best Paper Awards:
2002, Volume 87
John Lusk, Brian O.E. Calder, and Terence E. Freeman, Temperatures from triple-junction angles in sulfides. p. 1390-1400 Abstract
2001, Volume 86
Peppard, B.T., Steele, I.M., Davis, A.M., Wallace, P.J., and
Anderson, A.T., Zoned quartz phenocrysts from the rhyolitic Bishop Tuff.
p. 1034-1052 Abstract
2000, Volume 85
Nishimura, Y., Coombs, D.S., Landis, C.A., and Itaya, T., Continuous metamorphic gradient document by graphitization and K-Ar age, southeast Otago, New Zealand. p. 1625-1635 Abstract
1999, Volume 84
G. Morin, J.D. Ostergren, F. Juillot, P. Ildefonse, G. Calas,
and G.E. Brown, Jr., XAFS determination of the chemical form of lead
in smelter-contaminated soils and mine tailings: Importance of adsorption
processes. p. 420-434. Abstract
1998, Volume 83
As mineralogists turn their attention to environmental problems, we
must evaluate the capabilities of our instruments and find ways to make
them answer significant environmental problems. This paper evaluates
lead contamination in soils, a problem with large environmental significance.
By ascertaining the chemical form of lead, knowledge of its bioavailability
results, which is of fundamental importance to human health.
R. Dohmen, S. Chakraborty, H. Palme and W. Rammensee, Solid-solid
reactions mediated by a gas phase: an experimental study of reaction progress
and the role of surfaces in the system olivine + iron metal p. 970-984.
1997, Volume 82
This paper applies the novel technique of Knudsen-cell mass spectrometry,
in conjunction with electron microprobe analysis and imaging, to a problem
of immediate interest to mineralogists and cosmochemists - the origin of
olivine rims on grains of meteoritic Fe metal. The results of the analytical
studies are followed by numerical modeling of relevant diffusion relationships
to yield an interpretation involving gas fluxing that is tantalizing if
not highly convincing. This paper demonstrates, furthermore, the significance
of planetary materials studies to the science of mineralogy.
Teng, H. H., and Dove, P. M., 1997 Surface site-specific interactions
of aspartate with calcite during dissolution: implications for biomineralization.
p. 878-887. Abstract
It seems fitting that the American Mineralogist's first Best Paper Award
recognizes work of a highly interdisciplinary nature, bringing together
aspects of crystal structure - the very foundation of mineralogy - with
modern geochemistry to address molecular scale processes that bear on our
understanding of the interplay between minerals and life. Teng and Dove's
elegant AFM study illustrates the important roles that crystal structure
and, in turn, surface structure play in governing mineral reactivity in
nature. By examining the influence that organic molecules exert on step
orientation and behavior during calcite dissolution, they provide some
tantalizing insight into possible ways in which organisms control the formation
of crystals. What stands out in their paper is the clarity with which they
have documented a rapid morphological change at a mineral surface and the
implications of the process for biomineralization.