Congratulations to Ms. Carla Ramsdell for her recent publication titled Thermodynamic Analysis of Skillet Materials Using Infrared Thermography. She worked alongside Dr. Jeff Ramsdell to study the heating and cooling of 8 different skillet materials using infrared thermography.
Ms. Ramsdell stated, "This was combined with other factors to determine the best selection for a sustainable kitchen. The "cliff notes" are that there's a science-backed reason why cast iron skillets have stood the test of time amongst other, more "advanced" materials. The combination of cast iron's low thermal conductivity (so the thermal energy stays at the bottom of the skillet, close to the food), high heat capacity (so it is able to keep cooking long after the burner is turned off) and high emissivity (so food not in direct contact with the skillet can cook via radiation) makes it thermally superior. The addition of its naturally non-stick surface, relatively low manufacturing embodied energy and longevity (often lasting for generations), makes it a superior choice. And ... "bonus points" ... at $15 for a 10-inch skillet, it was the least expensive pan in this study!"
If you want to read more about this exciting research, check out this link for the published article.