mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii


The gas and dust between the stars emit across the electromagnetic spectrum and are found in a range of physical conditions from diffuse plasmas to cold, dense molecules. Through their study we see how quantum processes shape the structure of our Galaxy and fluid mechanics sets the stellar mass scale. The interstellar medium is a very broad subject with layers of complexity, a long history, and a steady flow of new results. This comprehensive yet accessible textbook provides a self-contained one-semester course for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students. It is written in a style that students can follow by themselves and allows instructors to use class time to go deeper into the details or show applications to current research.

"This makes a very valuable addition to the bookshelf of any student wanting to explore the rich physics of the interstellar medium. It takes as its starting point the physics that students already know (quantum physics, thermodynamics, interferometry, fluid mechanics) and leads them to an understanding of how all these fields have combined during the last half century to give us our present insight into the stuff between the stars. Wide ranging and accessibly written, it provides an excellent introduction to our current understanding of the interstellar medium and will be useful also to professional astronomers working in adjacent fields." Cathie Clarke, University of Cambridge

"This is a strong contribution for all students of this field, including myself. The material is provided in a clear and logical manner with sufficient background to foster learning. I particularly applaud the inclusion of the new frontier of planet formation and I will be recommending this book to my students." Edwin Bergin, University of Michigan

"An excellent overview of the interstellar medium of galaxies suitable for both advanced undergraduates and graduate students, emphasizing the most important issues." Christopher McKee, University of California, Berkeley

Available at Cambridge University Press and amazon.
Figures and code on github.