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Nucleosynthesis and Chemical Evolution of Galaxies


By: Bernard EJ Pagel(Author)

378 pages, illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jan 2009 | Edition: 2 | #173295 | ISBN-13: 9780521840309
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £65.99 $87/€75 approx

About this book

The distribution of elements in the cosmos is the result of many processes in the history of the Universe. It provides us with a powerful tool to study the Big Bang, the density of baryonic matter, nucleosynthesis and the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. Nucleosynthesis and Chemical Evolution of Galaxies, by a pioneer of the field, provides a lucid and wide-ranging introduction to the interdisciplinary subject of galactic chemical evolution. We are introduced to a broad spectrum of exciting astrophysics, from thermonuclear reactions, abundance measurements in astronomical sources, cosmological element production, stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis, to light element production by cosmic rays and the effects of galactic processes on the evolution of the elements. The reader is thus led to develop an intuitive and analytical understanding of results from numerical models and real observations. Simple, elegant derivations for key results are provided throughout, together with problems and helpful solution hints. This long-awaited textbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the broad subject of galactic chemical evolution for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and an invaluable overview for researchers.

Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a paperback version.

"Pagel covers all these aspects of nucleosynthesis and links them together to form a coherent picture of the way galaxies' compositions vary with time. For its stated purpose as a text book for graduate students, it is excellent."
- C. R. Kitchin, Astronomy Now

"[...] provides a clear, thorough, detailed and well-planned introduction to a complicated subject, in which the needs and problems of the aspiring student and researcher are well catered for. I recommend it very highly."
- Chemistry in Britain

"Each topic is explained from the ground up, giving the reader all the information needed to proceed further. The book manages to present (without losing scientific rigour) one of the most fascinating subjects of modern astrophysics."
- Cesare Chiosi, Nature

"[...] this is an excellent book – in fact, the best I know in this field. It provides an excellent introduction to more detailed review articles on specific topics, it contains a wealth of information, and it evidences and exceptionally broad and sound understanding of a key part of the formation and evolution of the universe."
- Gerry Gilmore, Astronomy and Geophysics



1. Introduction and overview
2. Thermonuclear reaction rates
3. Cosmic abundances of elements and isotopes
4. Cosmological nucleosynthesis and abundances of light elements
5. Outline of stellar structure and evolution
6. Neutron capture processes
7. Galactic chemical evolution: basic concepts and issues
8. Some specific GCE models and related observational data
9. Origin and evolution of light elements
10. Radioactive cosmochronology
11. Chemical evolution in other sorts of galaxies
12. Cosmic chemical evolution and diffuse background radiation


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Bernard Pagel won the Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in 1990, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992. He served as a member of the MNRAS editorial board from 1970-1984, and was Vice President of the RAS from 1973-1976.

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