Harry Y. McSween, Jr , Gary R. Huss 
CUP  April 2010  

Hardback  568 pp  ISBN 9780521878623      £45.00
How did the Solar System's chemical composition evolve? This textbook provides the answers in the first interdisciplinary introduction to cosmochemistry. It makes this exciting and evolving field accessible to undergraduate and graduate students from a range of backgrounds, including geology, chemistry, astronomy and physics. The authors - two established leaders who have pioneered developments in the field - provide a complete background to cosmochemical processes and discoveries, enabling students outside geochemistry to understand and explore the Solar System's composition.

Topics covered include: - synthesis of nuclides in stars - partitioning of elements between solids, liquids and gas in the solar nebula - overviews of the chemistry of extraterrestrial materials - isotopic tools used to investigate processes such as planet accretion and element fractionation - chronology of the early Solar System - geochemical exploration of planets Boxes provide basic definitions and mini-courses in mineralogy, organic chemistry, and other essential background information for students. Review questions and additional reading for each chapter encourage students to explore cosmochemistry further.

  • Interdisciplinary approach provides a wide range of students with the tools to explore the chemistry of the Solar System
  • Review questions in each chapter encourage students to test their new knowledge
  • Other pedagogical features include further reading, boxes containing key definitions, mini-courses in essential topics, and an appendix describing analytical techniques used in cosmochemistry


1. Introduction to cosmochemistry
2. Nuclides and elements the building blocks of matter
3. Origin of the elements
4. Solar System and cosmic abundances - elements and isotopes
5. Presolar grains a record of stellar nucleosynthesis and processes in interstellar space
6. Meteorites - a record of nebular and planetary processes
7. Cosmochemical and geochemical fractionations
8. Radioisotopes as chronometers
9. Chronology of the early Solar System
10. The most volatile elements and compounds - organic matter, noble gases, and ices
11. Chemistry of anhydrous planetesimals
12. Chemistry of comets and other ice-bearing planetesimals
13. Geochemical exploration of planets - Moon and Mars as case studies
14. Cosmochemical models for the formation of the Solar System

Appendix: some analytical techniques commonly used in cosmochemistry

To find similar publications, click on a keyword below:
Cambridge University Press : chemistry : cosmology : geology : physics

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