ASTR/GEOL 4330/5330: Cosmochemistry

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Course Syllabus, Fall 2014

Problems 1: basic astrophysical properties
Problems 2: group work on nucleosynthesis, stellar evolution and nebular processes
Problems 3: planetary cosmochemistry
Problems 4: primitive meteorites
Problems 5: interplanetary dust, accretion and lunar ages
Problems 6: chondrites, achondrites and irons

Lecture Notes (check your downloads folder after clinking on the link!):

Week 1 - brief overview of structure & chemistry of the solar system, introduction to nuclear chemistry, the first elements

Primer on the structure & evolution of stars (A. Bunker, Oxford)
Stellar structure & evolution (O.R. Pols, Utrecht)

Lecture 2 - He-burning, s-process, CNO-cycle, heavy elements

R-process nucleosynthesis in supernovae (Cowan and Thielemann, Physics Today 2004)

Lecture 3 - s- and r-process nucleosynthesis, prelude to the condensation sequence

The r-process in halo stars (J.J. Cowan, Univ. Oklahoma. presentation at Recontres de Blois, 2007)

Lecture 4 - finalize s- and r-process nucleosynthesis, condensation of the first solids

Lectures 5 &6 - condensation, Delta and extinct nuclides

Stellar origin of the 182Hf cosmochronometer and the presolar history of solar system matter by M. Lugaro and collaborators (2014)

Lectures 7&8 - last words on short-lived nuclides, introduction to planetary chemistry

What's new with the Origin of the Earth?
Determining the composition of the Earth

Lecture 9 - Water on the Moon (Guest Lecture by Dr. B. Cohen, NASA-MSFC)

Structure and evolution of the lunar Procellarum region (J. Andrews-Hanna and colleagues, just appeared in Nature)
Heterogeneous distribution of water on the Moon (K.L. Robinson and G. J. Taylor)

Lecture 10 - Origin of water and volatiles to the planets; classification of meteorites

Antarctic meteorites
Earth from enstatite chondrites? (M. Javoy and co-workers)

Lecture 11 - Classification of meteorites - the chondrites

pre-solar grains in meteorites (A. Davis' review in PNAS)
calcium aluminum-rich inclusions in meteorites (MacPherson et al. review on major unanswered questions of CAIs)

Lecture 12 - Carbonaceous chondrites, pre-solar grains, chondrules, CAIs, Ordinary chondrites

Mineralogy of meteorites (A. Rubin's review in MAPS)
Terrestrial mass accretion rate of cosmic dust (Love and Brownlee's review in Science)
Introduction to the petrographic microscope

Lecture 13 - Ordinary and Enstatite chondrites

instructions for term paper

Useful and Interesting Supplementary Readings:

B^2FH "Synthesis of the elements in stars"
Arnould & Takahashi "Nuclear Astrophysics"
Prof. Bill White's class notes (Cornell University) on "Nucleosynthesis"
Nicolas Dauphas' treatment of the Th/U evolution of the Galaxy

Interesting Links To Check Out:

  • Center for Lunar Origin and Evolution

    Comments, critiques and suggestions can be sent to

    S.J. Mojzsis | Early Earth & Planetary Systems Geology Group | Geological Sciences | CU Planetary Sciences Program

    Last modified October 20, 2014 by Stephen J. Mojzsis