Minerals existed long before any forms of life, playing a key role in the origin and evolution of life; an interaction with biological systems that we are only w beginning to understand. Exploring the traditional strand of mineralogy, which emphasises the important mineral families, the well-established analytical methods (optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction) and the dramatic developments made in techniques over recent decades, David Vaughan also introduces the modern strand of mineralogy, which explores the role minerals play in the plate tectonic cycle and how they interact with the living world. Demonstrating how minerals can be critical for human health and illness by providing essential nutrients and releasing poisons, Vaughan explores the multitude of ways in which minerals have aided our understanding of the world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
David Vaughan is Research Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Manchester and Founding Director of the Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science at that University. He has held a Chair at Manchester since 1988. Professor Vaughan was educated at the Universities of London (BSc, MSc) and Oxford (DPhil, DSc). He has published more than 250 articles and a dozen books on topics in mineralogy and geochemistry. Awards he has received include the Schlumberger Medal of the Mineralogical Society (GB) and the Geochemistry Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is currently the President of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) and is the only scientist to have served as President of the MSA, of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the European Mineralogical Union. In 1989, the mineral vaughanite, from a gold mine in Ontario, was named in his honour by Canadian scientists.