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Planetary Sciences Hardcover – 6 Dec 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (6 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521482194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521482196
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 3.3 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,863,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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'I am really impressed … The book covers the important physical processes in all areas of planetary science. My favorite derivations are all there, along with the important figures, graphs, and tables that show the data. The numerous homework problems challenge the student to understand the equations and think independently. The book sets the standard for what we should be teaching those who want to become professionals in this field. I will recommend it to all my students and look forward to using it in my courses.' Andrew P. Ingersoll, California Institute of Technology

'Planetary Sciences presents a comprehensive coverage of this fascinating and expanding field at a level … The book explains the wide variety of physical, chemical and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets … a very useful book … an excellent textbook for anyone studying astronomy and planetary geology … a rich source of knowledge … Highly recommended.' Richard Taylor, Spaceflight

'… a comprehensive overview of the planetary science field …'. Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

'… the book is essentially excellent. Given their formidable task, de Pater and Lissauer have done as good a job as can be imagined, and I can't imagine two other authors doing a better job.' William B. McKinnon, EOS

'… a massive achievement, and the well-considered problems and exercises at the end of each chapter will be particularly useful to students and to test one's own understanding.' Physics Today

'The illustrations and images are excellently produced … This hardback volume should serve the degree student well throughout their years of study.' Popular Astronomy

Book Description

A comprehensive coverage of this fascinating and expanding field at a level appropriate for graduate students and researchers. Examines the wide variety of physical, chemical and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets.

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Since ancient times, people have been intrigued by the wonders of the night sky, the Moon and the Sun. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just bought the Kindle version and I am upset. All the pictures are in black&white on my Kindle Fire, whereas in the preview they are in colour. It does not say on the Kindle page that the photos are in b&w. Had to pay a lot of money and if I would have known before I would have bought the hardcover version of the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Lives up to its reputation.
With more pages and smaller print than the undergraduate book it packs a whole lot of information in.
Like the undergraduate book I think the problems are mostly a bit below the level of difficulty I would expect for the target audience.
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By Mervyn on 2 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent text, much detail needs fleshing out with other tomes but if you need a well crafted overview then this could be for you.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Londoner on 12 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this for a 2nd year university course and it was an excellent reference book. Easy to find stuff, and good for hobby reading too. I love collecting scientific texts to read for random times of boredom and wont be selling this anytime soon! Buy it and enjoy it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding textbook on planetary science 15 Nov. 2004
By Jill Malter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What's the best book to use as a text in a senior-year course on planetary science? This one gets my vote! It seems to cover everything.

After a nice introductory chapter comes the first test for this book: a 20-page chapter on dynamics with 5 pages of exercises. And this book does a great job. It explains Lagrangian points, orbital resonances, the chaotic nature of the orbit of Pluto, tides, the Yarkovski effect, and so on. And it just gets better after that, with more than 70 pages on planetary atmospheres (structure, composition, clouds, winds, photochemistry, escape). This is followed by hefty sections on planetary surfaces, planetary interiors, and planetary magnetospheres, each of which discuss the individual planets and satellites separately.

Next is a chapter on meteorites, along with radiometric dating. A chapter on asteroids: their orbits, size distribution, collisional evolution, surfaces, structures, and asteroid observing techniques. And a chapter on comets, including their origins and constraints on planetary system formation theories.

We return to dynamics for the ensuing chapter, on planetary rings: thicknesses, resonances, density waves, and shepherding. Following that is a chapter on planet formation, followed by a short concluding chapter on extrasolar planets.

The exercises are instructive and useful throughout. I learned a great deal of material from this book, even though it was nowhere near my first exposure to planetary science.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great book 5 Jan. 2004
By "klrgrizz" - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb book, if a little complex. You do need some mathematical and physics background to really follow all the topics. Well written, and having taken a class from Imke de Pater at Cal, a great representation of her work.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A stupid book for a stupid class 26 April 2012
By J. Naft - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Positive reviewers of this text always say something like "this book has everything." From my point of view, this is exactly the problem. There are too many tables, equations, and graphs in here without enough commentary to throw the big ideas into relief.

The text tries to do too much and the result is that students without extensive background in the material covered by a particular chapter are left unable to do the questions at the end. In my case, the chapter on petrology and cratering was a breeze but planetary atmospheres was hell. I'm ashamed to say so, but I might not have have passed this class without google and wikipedia to fill the explanatory gaps this book left. Others learners with different background may struggle in different subject areas, but the fact remains that this book provides insufficient conceptual explanations for those approaching topics for the first time.

Lots of things asked in the end-of-chapter questions aren't even alluded to in the text. A secondary quibble is that the multipart questions often end with a final part telling you to repeat all the calculations for a different set of planets. If you want to kill your students' enthusiasm, letting them get to the "end" of a problem only to realize they are really only halfway done is a great way to do it.

I used this book for an intro planetary class at MIT, and in my opinion a survey course with such a wide scope should not try to cram so much quantitative substance into itself. As a graduate student in another field seeking more background to understand planetary seminars, I would have benefited from a more conceptual treatment with less emphasis on equations and number crunching.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Waste of time 3 April 2014
By Wayne Deeker - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Speaking as both a science writer and lover of astronomy, I hate this book. The worst thing any text can do is turn students off its subject, a crime I consider all the worse given this thrilling and inspirational topic. I have a strong background in many of these subjects, plus a fundamental interest, yet this book makes me wonder why I am bothering. I consider it time stolen from my life rather than an investment in growth.

It's tedious, dull, and worst of all, absolutely passionless. Written mostly in passive voice, and completely full of very technical formulae, It's a tribute to everything wrong with scientific and university philosophy. There's almost zero explanation of what all these facts mean, little synthesis or global understanding. It provides no reason to care. This book is the worst kind of dry tome.

I acknowledge that it's a university text aimed at an advanced level, yet even by those standards the text is much more difficult to understand than it should be. Generally it lacks structural devices such as definitions, and topic overviews or summaries, and apparently works on the assumption that if the authors list every known fact about a topic then some kind of learning will eventually take place. This reflects an ignorance of how people actually learn. The book's existence is testament to the fact that most of its material will be new to most of its readers, yet it's completely incompetent at imparting that to someone not already familiar with it. You slog through it's long, dull sections and ask yourself: "what did I just learn from that?", and the answer will be "very little". Basically, the quintessential worst kind of university teaching distilled into book form. The professors who could write this are the same kind who would drone on to the blackboard for hours without noticing that the whole class had left.

The book also illustrates why my profession of science communication exists, because too few scientists (and professors) can make their subject interesting or clear. To express something mathematically is not the same as explaining it.

The book's award probably tells one all they need to know about the value of such awards, and the fact that science lecturers select texts on that basis rather than any real merit.

It's not totally worthless, and if you have the required extremely advanced mathematical background, and you're interested in formulae for their own sake, then you may get something from it. This is not so much a book about astronomy, as a reference about astronomical mathematics. The audience is the mathematical physicist. If you can't visualise formulae, and (like most people) need explanations in words, then this book is very nearly a waste of time.

Other books about the same subject ARE enjoyable to read and informative at the Tertiary level. By comparison I LOVE Universe, 9th ed.
Excellent textbook 10 Mar. 2014
By Letitia Kolb - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating book especially for a required textbook but my prof always made good choices. I'm always so thankful when I find good prices on my textbooks and avoid getting ripped off at the campus bookstore! I will keep this one in my reference library--thanks!
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