Astronomers' Universe

The Chemical Cosmos

A Guided Tour

Authors: Miller, Steve

  • Makes the area of astrochemistry accessible to amateur astronomers and the general educated public
  • Covers an important, but so far neglected, area of popular science: how do we get from the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang to a chemical rich universe in which life can evolve 
  • Uses a key astronomical molecule- Hydrogen- as guide in the journey through the evolving chemical universe
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eBook $19.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-4419-8444-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-8443-2
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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About this book

If you have ever wondered how we get from the awesome impersonality of the Big Bang universe to the point where living creatures can start to form, and evolve into beings like you, your friends and your family, wonder no more. Steve Miller provides us with a tour through the chemical evolution of the universe, from the formation of the first molecules all the way to the chemicals required for life to evolve. Using a simple Hydrogen molecule – known as H-three-plus - as a guide, he takes us on a journey that starts with the birth of the first stars, and how, in dying, they pour their hearts out into enriching the universe in which we live.

Our molecular guide makes its first appearance at the source of the Chemical Cosmos, at a time when only three elements and a total of 11 molecules existed. From those simple beginnings, H-three-plus guides us down river on the violent currents of exploding stars, through the streams of the Interstellar Medium, and into the delta where new stars and planets form. We are finally left on the shores of the sea of life. Along the way, we meet the key characters who have shaped our understanding of the chemistry of the universe, such as Cambridge physicist J.J. Thomson and the Chicago chemist Takeshi Oka. And we are given an insider’s view of just how astronomers, making use of telescopes and Earth-orbiting satellites, have put together our modern view of the Chemical Cosmos.

About the authors

Steve Miller is Professor of Science Communication and Planetary Science, at University College London- Science and Technology Studies. Steve trained in chemistry at Southampton University (BSc 1970; PhD 1975), carrying out several years of postdoctoral research in physical chemistry. He spent six years as a political journalist, from 1980-86, before re-entering academic life at UCL, specializing in spectroscopy applied to astronomy and planetary science. Steve has written for the general media, as well as popular science magazines such as Astronomy Now, and on explaining astronomy on British television and radio. He runs the European science communication network, ESConet, which is responsible for training hundreds of Europe’s leading scientists to communicate with their fellow citizens, directly and through the mass media. Steve’s love of Hawaii comes from his time spent observing the heavens from Maunakea, and from his wife, who is Hawaiian.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“The Chemical Cosmos: A Guided Tour is an astronomy book about chemistry – or perhaps a chemistry book about astronomy. … well-structured and unifies a number of different elements of astronomy. Miller is careful to explain the technical vocabulary that you need to discuss the subject. The writing is clear and he has a light and humorous touch. … I enjoyed reading the book and learned a number of new things. I think anyone with an interest in astronomy or chemistry would find it interesting.” (BellaOnline.com, August, 2013)

“The book might well inspire A-level students or their teachers to see the Universe as a place with many very interesting chemistry problems.” (Mike Edmunds, The Observatory, Vol. 132 (1230), October, 2012)

“This is another book aiming to summarize 13 billion years of cosmic history in relatively few pages. … Recent discoveries of potentially life-supporting niches in the solar system, as well as the numerous recently discovered exoplanets, are described in broad strokes. The index and annotated bibliography are helpful, and the volume includes many rarely seen and well-chosen illustrations. Suitable for lay readers … . Summing Up: Recommended. General audiences.” (T. R. Blackburn, Choice, Vol. 49 (10), June, 2012)

“Steve Miller is a professor at UCL and an accomplished speaker at the RAS … . He’s written a book I’m pleased to recommend for its light touch and humour … and, above all, for his willingness to explain. After a most enjoyable read, I had quite a bit to think about and there is a useful section of recommended further reading.” (Roger O’Brien, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 122 (1), 2012)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Purple Haze: Introducing Our Guide

    Miller, Steve

    Pages 1-7

  • The Early Universe: The Source of Chemistry – and of Our Guide

    Miller, Steve

    Pages 9-24

  • Shooting the Rapids: The Life and Death of the Earliest Stars

    Miller, Steve

    Pages 25-62

  • Heading Downstream and Cooking by Starlight

    Miller, Steve

    Pages 63-90

  • Fishing for Molecules

    Miller, Steve

    Pages 91-113

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-8444-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-8443-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Chemical Cosmos
Book Subtitle
A Guided Tour
Authors
Series Title
Astronomers' Universe
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
eBook ISBN
978-1-4419-8444-9
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4419-8444-9
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4419-8443-2
Series ISSN
1614-659X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 236
Number of Illustrations and Tables
3 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour
Topics