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Theory of Reflectance and Emittance Spectroscopy

uytReflectance spectroscopy is a technique of burgeoning application, from the investigation of pigments on ancient works of art to terrestrial (and beyond) remote sensing surveys. It is the only technique available for the investigation of the surfaces of the numerous rocky bodies (large and small) that comprise the rest of our Solar System and, given the professional provenance of the author, pre-eminent in his field, it is this application that features prominently in this work.

The first edition, published in 1993, is regarded by many as the seminal text on the subject. This second edition is significantly different in parts and includes a consideration of much of the relevant literature published after the first edition appeared. Accordingly, moving on from the first edition is recommended.

The new work is logically structured into four sections, with essential foundation material such as Maxwell’s Equations and blackbody emission treated briefly but adequately. The geological user will be most interested in the latter chapters, with Chapters 14 and 15 probably regarded as essential reading for almost all users of reflectance spectroscopy. There are appendices covering vector calculus, complex variables and Fraunhofer diffraction, together with an invaluable table of symbols as used in the text.

As always, the clue to the content is in the title. Though there are some tit-bits of information sprinkled throughout the text, do not expect much description or discussion of instrumentation, calibration and data processing – the interested reader will have to look elsewhere for that. However, the densely mathematical treatment of theory is enlivened by pertinent and informative discussion and the occasional personal anecdote. That said, the author takes no prisoners and this is a book that the reader will have to work hard with.

His admonition on page 4 to ‘… always derive a critical equation…’ need not be taken too seriously by most users, who will certainly rely on their favourite software package (some such are briefly mentioned at places in the text). Many users of reflectance spectroscopy, happy with the assumption of ‘perfect’ diffuse reflectance, will not require the depth of theory presented in this work, but similarly few will not have occasion to delve into it for some enlightenment at times.

Probably this is not a book for most personal bookshelves (though your reviewer will be pleased to have it readily to hand) but it is certainly one for the institutional library.

Reviewed by Trevor F. Emmett


HAPKE, B. 2012. Published by: Cambridge Univeristy Press, The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge, CB2 8RU, UK. 254 x 180 mm, 528 pages, 180 black and white illustrations, 7 tables. ISBN 978-0-521-88349-8 (HBK).
List price £58.