Life as We Do Not Know It

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1440628564
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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An engrossing and revelatory first look at the search for alien life—on Earth and beyond For the past twenty years, Peter Ward has been at the forefront of popular science writing, with books such as the influential and controversial Rare Earth. In Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward, with his signature blend of eloquence, humor, and learned insight, vividly details the latest scientific findings, cutting-edge research, and intrepid new theories on the subject of alien life and the possible extraterrestrial origins of life on Earth. In lucid, entertaining, and bold prose, Peter Ward once again challenges our notions of life on earth (and beyond).

Unsere einsame Erde

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISBN: 3642565069
Format: PDF, Docs
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Sind wir vielleicht allein im Universum? Die Antworten überraschen und führen den Leser auf eine faszinierende Reise von den vulkanischen Quellen des Ozeanbodens bis zum Jupiter-Mond. "...ein stellares Beispiel präziser Ausdruckskraft." (American Scientist)

Life in the Universe

Author: James Newsome Pierce
Publisher: Universal-Publishers
ISBN: 1599424517
Format: PDF, Docs
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This book explores the science of extraterrestrial life, with a particular emphasis on the existence of intelligent alien civilizations. It introduces the reader to the basic chemistry associated with life on Earth and describes the planetary and stellar environments that allow us to exist. It also discusses the likelihood of alien life developing at other locations in our galaxy, along with the possibility that we will meet or communicate with them. This book is suitable for use as a text in an introductory "Life in the Universe" course. REVIEWS: Blog Critics Magazine written by Regis Schilken http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/03/16/082715.php

A New History of Life

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1408842807
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An estimated 4.6 billion years ago, the Earth and Moon were formed in a violent impact. On this, many agree, and even more that a long time after that, life began. However, few know that the first life on the Earth may not have emerged on this planet, but could, in fact, have begun on Mars, brought here by meteorites. In this revolutionary book, leading scientists Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink rewrite the principal account of the history of life on Earth. They show not only how the rise of animals was delayed for billions of years, but also what it was that first forced fish out of the sea and onto the land. Together, the two scientists explain how developments in the environment led to multiple Ice Ages before the emergence of dinosaurs and other giant animals, and what the true cause of these great beasts' eventual extinction was. Finally, charting the course of our own evolution, they explore whether this generation will see the end of the human species. A New History of Life proves not only that much of what we think we know should be unlearned, but also that the true history of life on Earth is much more surprising and wonderful than we could ever have imagined.

Evolution and the Emergent Self

Author: Raymond L. Neubauer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231521685
Format: PDF, Docs
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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.