Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System
Now in paperback and with a new afterward, Strange New Worlds by renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets--and alien life--beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars--thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the remarkable breakthroughs and latest findings that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration and that challenge our view of the cosmos. Strange New Worlds provides an insider's look at the cutting-edge science of today's planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research.
The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People
In The Universe Within, Neil Shubin reveals the connection between the evolution of the cosmos and the evolution of the human body. Just as the history of the earth is written in the rocks, so too is the universe’s 14-billion-year history written in the human body. Starting at the smallest level, with our very molecular composition, Shubin explores the question of why we are the way we are, tracing the formation of the planets, the moon, and the globe of Earth through the development of the organs, cells, and genes that make up human life.
Complexity and the Arrow of Time
There is a widespread assumption that the universe in general, and life in particular, is 'getting more complex with time'. This book brings together a wide range of experts in science, philosophy and theology and unveils their joint effort in exploring this idea. They confront essential problems behind the theory of complexity and the role of life within it: what is complexity? When does it increase, and why? Is the universe evolving towards states of ever greater complexity and diversity? If so, what is the source of this universal enrichment? This book addresses those difficult questions, and offers a unique cross-disciplinary perspective on some of the most profound issues at the heart of science and philosophy.
More than Nature Needs: Language, Mind, and Evolution
The human mind is an unlikely evolutionary adaptation. How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than anything a hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, saw humans as "divine exceptions" to natural selection. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but his hypothesis remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language evolution, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that both biology and the cognitive sciences have hitherto ignored or evaded. Starting from humankind's remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis--one that instead of merely repeating "nature and nurture" clichés shows specifically and in a principled manner how and why the synthesis came about.
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