Published in VIII Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics: Stellar Astrophysics for the Local Group, eds. A. Aparico, A. Herrero, & F. Sánchez, Cambridge University Press, 1998
Abstract. Advances in astrophysics are often dependent on inter-connections between different subfields. The goal of this chapter is to serve as an introduction, for a perceived audience of primarily stellar astronomers, into interstellar medium research which is directly related to stellar issues. While there are many such connections, I will focus primarily on topics related to chemical abundances. I start with a brief overview of the methodology of obtaining nebular abundances. This is followed by an overview of simple chemical evolution models. I then review what is known about abundance patterns in dwarf and spiral galaxies, evidence of the possible role of environment, and how these observations fit into our simple ideas of chemical evolution. Finally, I outline what I consider a very long term goal; that of deriving self-consistent star formation histories for galaxies. By this, I mean drawing parallels between the record of star formation as written in the stellar populations and the record as written in the absolute and relative chemical abundances.
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