Origins of Life in the Universe

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Overview

Origins of Life in the Universe traces the evolution of the Cosmos from the Big Bang to the development of intelligent life on Earth. Conveying clear, concise science in an engaging narrative, it maps the history of the Universe for introductory science and astrobiology courses for nonscience majors.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Extraordinarily well written, a very pleasant learning experience for me ... Jastrow and Rampino have written a remarkable text that should be read by all undergraduates who require a science distributive." - Edward Berger, Dartmouth College

"This book is a great introduction to the grand journey of 14 billion years of cosmic evolution from the Big Bang to human evolution! It presents a sweeping synthesis of the sciences ranging from astronomy and astrophysics to planetology, geology, climatology, evolution of life and molecular biology and makes an original and exciting text for a general introductory science course for non-science majors." - Vivien Gornitz, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

"Jastrow and Rampino have managed a tour-de-force, from the origin of the universe to the emergence of life on Earth and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Their book makes engaging reading and provides an excellent first overview of this subject for non-specialists." - Christian Koeberl, University of Vienna

"... a comprehensive look at astrobiology in an accessible, well-written text aimed at undergraduate students who do not pursue science as a principal subject. ... Its completeness in the book's strength. No aspect relating to the origins of life is left uncovered ... this book gives an extremely comprehensive understanding of the evolution of life and the possibility for life beyond our own planet, and it should serve as an excellent textbook for an introductory astrobiology course." - Ellen Stofan, Nature Geosciences

"...the text is descriptive and requires no mathematical skills. ...As is typical of Jastrow's books, this one is very clearly written and very well illustrated. ...Highly recommended." - A. Spero, CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521532839
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 444
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Jastrow is well known internationally as an astronomer and author of many widely acclaimed books. His initial research experience was in the field of nuclear physics, and his later work has been in planetary science, atmospheric physics, weather and climate prediction, and application of satellite observations to studies of earth resources. Dr Jastrow joined NASA when it was formed in 1958 and in 1961 set up NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a U.S. Government laboratory charged with carrying out research in astronomy and planetary science.

Michael Rampino is an associate professor of earth science and biology at New York University, and a research associate at GISS in New York. His research spans many areas of the earth sciences, especially the inter-relationships between the Earth's changing environments and the evolution of life. He is Series Co-Editor for the highly acclaimed Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences (Springer) and the Editor-in-Chief of the Earth Science Encyclopedia On-Line.

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Table of Contents


Foreword Robert Shapiro Shapiro, Robert Pt. I The Universe
1 Our place in the Universe: The realm of the galaxies 3
2 A view of the origin of the Universe: Evidence for an explosive beginning 18
3 Life from the cosmic cauldron: Life history of a star; Creation of the chemical elements within stars 42 Pt. II The Solar System
4 Formation of the conditions for life: Planets and moons 73
5 Origins of a habitable planet: The Moon as a record of early Earth history 106
6 Prospects for life: Is Mars a habitable planet? 119
7 Venus - our sister planet: The evolution of a hostile world 144 Pt. III The Earth
8 Earth: Composition and structure of a habitable planet 163
9 The changing face of an active habitable planet: Explanation of Earth's surface features 196
10 Climate change and the evolution of life: Climate changes and Earth history 228 Pt. IV Origin and history of life on Earth
11 The origin and evolution of life: Life's beginnings and Darwin's theory of evolution 253
12 The early history of life on Earth: From single cells to complex organisms 285
13 The development of higher life forms: The age of the reptiles and dinosaurs 309 Pt. V Evolution of intelligent life
14 The mammals: The rise of intelligence 337
15 The evolution of higher intelligence: Growth of the brain 354
16 Are we alone in the Universe? Humankind's place in the cosmic community 369 Epilog 382 App. A History of the Earth 384 App. B Periodic table of the elements 386 Index 387
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