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Rare Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 0387218483
Size: 65.79 MB
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What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.

Rare Earth

Author: Peter Douglas Ward
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781439568927
Size: 35.28 MB
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The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate--though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this stage is very rare. Everyone with an interest in the possible extent of life in the Universe and the nature of life's evolution on our own planet will be fascinated by Rare Earth. "...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..." The New York Times "...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..." Newsday (New York) "...a sobering and valuable perspective..." Science "...a startling new hypothesis..." Library Journal "...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..." The Economist "...provocative, significant, and sweeping..." Northwest Science & Technology "...a stellar example of clear writing..." American Scientist

The Cause And Evolution Of The Universe Fact And Myth In Modern Astrophysics

Author: John Auping
Publisher: Universidad Iberoamericana
ISBN: 1910301523
Size: 18.99 MB
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This book differentiates observationally verified aspects of cosmology from ideas whose verification is distant or perhaps impossible by careful application of orthodox scientific method. This English edition is a part of his original work devoted to describing the dynamics of stars, and analysing the Big Bang, steady state and multiverse models.

Astrobiology Discovery And Societal Impact

Author: Steven J. Dick
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108677762
Size: 15.86 MB
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The search for life in the universe, once the stuff of science fiction, is now a robust worldwide research program with a well-defined roadmap probing both scientific and societal issues. This volume examines the humanistic aspects of astrobiology, systematically discussing the approaches, critical issues, and implications of discovering life beyond Earth. What do the concepts of life and intelligence, culture and civilization, technology and communication mean in a cosmic context? What are the theological and philosophical implications if we find life - and if we do not? Steven J. Dick argues that given recent scientific findings, the discovery of life in some form beyond Earth is likely and so we need to study the possible impacts of such a discovery and formulate policies to deal with them. The remarkable and often surprising results are presented here in a form accessible to disciplines across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

The Medea Hypothesis

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691130750
Size: 72.56 MB
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In The Medea Hypothesis, renowned paleontologist Peter Ward proposes a revolutionary and provocative vision of life's relationship with the Earth's biosphere--one that has frightening implications for our future, yet also offers hope. Using the latest discoveries from the geological record, he argues that life might be its own worst enemy. This stands in stark contrast to James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis--the idea that life sustains habitable conditions on Earth. In answer to Gaia, which draws on the idea of the "good mother" who nurtures life, Ward invokes Medea, the mythical mother who killed her own children. Could life by its very nature threaten its own existence? According to the Medea hypothesis, it does. Ward demonstrates that all but one of the mass extinctions that have struck Earth were caused by life itself. He looks at our planet's history in a new way, revealing an Earth that is witnessing an alarming decline of diversity and biomass--a decline brought on by life's own "biocidal" tendencies. And the Medea hypothesis applies not just to our planet--its dire prognosis extends to all potential life in the universe. Yet life on Earth doesn't have to be lethal. Ward shows why, but warns that our time is running out. Breathtaking in scope, The Medea Hypothesis is certain to arouse fierce debate and radically transform our worldview. It serves as an urgent challenge to all of us to think in new ways if we hope to save ourselves from ourselves.

The Twin Sister Planets Venus And Earth

Author: Robert J. Malcuit
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319113887
Size: 63.55 MB
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This book explains how it came to be that Venus and Earth, while very similar in chemical composition, zonation, size and heliocentric distance from the Sun, are very different in surface environmental conditions. It is argued here that these differences can be accounted for by planetoid capture processes and the subsequent evolution of the planet-satellite system. Venus captured a one-half moon-mass planetoid early in its history in the retrograde direction and underwent its “fatal attraction scenario” with its satellite (Adonis). Earth, on the other hand, captured a moon-mass planetoid (Luna) early in its history in prograde orbit and underwent a benign estrangement scenario with its captured satellite.

Evolution And The Emergent Self

Author: Raymond L. Neubauer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231521685
Size: 68.41 MB
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Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science's quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with "Big History" and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer's ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the "self-organizing" structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe.

A New History Of Life

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608199088
Size: 45.81 MB
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The history of life on Earth is, in some form or another, known to us all--or so we think. A New History of Life offers a provocative new account, based on the latest scientific research, of how life on our planet evolved--the first major new synthesis for general readers in two decades. Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.' In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen “snowball Earth”, and the seeds for life originating on Mars. Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

International Environmental Law And Policy For The 21st Century

Author: Ved Nanda
Publisher: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
ISBN: 9004250239
Size: 36.49 MB
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International Environmental Law & Policy for the 21st Century, 2nd Revised Edition, provides a fresh, comprehensive, and in-depth analysis of the immense and challenging field of IEL, perfect for the needs of students, scholars, professionals, NGOs, and lay readers alike.

Chance Or Purpose

Author: Christoph Schönborn
Publisher: Ignatius Press
ISBN: 9781586172121
Size: 15.12 MB
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Cardinal Christoph Schnborns article on evolution and creation in The New York Times launched an international controversy. Critics charged him with biblical literalism and creationism. In this book, Cardinal Schnborn responds to his critics by tackling the hard questions with a carefully-reasoned the "theology of creation." Can we still speak intelligently of the world as creation and affirm the existence of the Creator, or is God a delusion? How should an informed believer read Genesis? If God exists, why is there so much injustice and suffering? Are human beings a part of nature or elevated above it? What is man's destiny? Is everything a matter of chance or can we discern purpose in human existence? In his treatment of evolution, Cardinal Schnborn distinguishes the biological theory from evolutionism, the ideology that tries to reduce all of reality to mindless, meaningless processes. He argues that science and a rationally-grounded faith are not at odds and that what many people represent as science is really a set of philosophical positions that will not withstand critical scrutiny. Purpose or Chance? directly raises the philosophical and theological issues many scientists today overlook or ignore. The result is a vigorous, frank dialogue that acknowledges the respective insights of the philosopher, the theologian and the scientist, but which calls on them to listen and to learn from each another.