Cover image for The elements : their origin, abundance, and distribution
The elements : their origin, abundance, and distribution
Cox, P. A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
viii, 207 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QD466 .C875 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Here is the first book to provide a complete natural history of the elements. This interdisciplinary guide will give the reader a broad, non-technical view of the origin of the elements, the factors controlling their abundances, and their distributions in the Earth, solar system, and universe. This unique volume is based on a series of lectures given for freshman chemistry students and will be of equal value to both undergraduates and professors in all physical sciences. It includes a broad introduction to the range of existing elements and information on their nuclear and chemical properties, as well as coverage of radioactive elements, the condensation of the elements, the elements of life and the oceans. Valuable appendix materials include coverage of elemental abundances and isotopic composition, while suggestions for further reading are provided at the end of each chapter.

Author Notes

P. A. Cox is at University of Oxford.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A lucidly written introductory book that uses an interdisciplinary approach to answer questions on the nature, history, and abundance of the elements on the earth and in the universe. Cox draws information from several disciplines: chemistry, geology, astronomy, physics. Because of the book's broad scope, it is useful as a reference (there are tables on the relative abundance of elements in the universe and on earth as well as on the natural abundance of the different isotopes on earth), and it also could be used as a text in a course designed to attract students interested in a more general picture of science. For beginning science students, it is an ideal work because the author includes at the end of each chapter a summary of important points and an annotated bibliography. The questions raised by the author include those regarding the origin of the elements and their natural abundance on the earth and in the universe. Cox discusses the nuclear reactions in the life cycle of stars that produce most of the elements in the unvierse and the presence of simple molecules in interstellar gas and dust clouds. The book ends by using plate tectonics theory as a basis for describing the distribution of elements on our planet. For community college levels up. M. Rossi Vassar College

Table of Contents

Nuclear and chemical properties
The origin of the elements
Cosmochemistry and the solar system
The distribution of elements on the earth's surface
Isotope distributions
Appendix A Abundances
Appendix B Isotopic compositions of the elements