02 July 2002
Electrostatic correlations play an important role in physics, chemistry and biology. In plasmas they lead to thermodynamic instability similar to the liquid-gas phase transition of simple molecular fluids. For charged colloidal suspensions the electrostatic correlations are responsible for screening and colloidal charge renormalization. In aqueous solutions containing multivalent counterions they can lead to charge inversion and flocculation. In biological systems the correlations account for the organization of cytoskeleton and the compaction of genetic material. In spite of their ubiquity, the true importance of electrostatic correlations has become fully appreciated only quite recently. In this paper, I will review the thermodynamic consequences of electrostatic correlations in a variety of systems ranging from classical plasmas to molecular biology.