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The Biological Universe: The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science
     

The Biological Universe: The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science

by Steven J. Dick
 

ISBN-10: 052166361X

ISBN-13: 9780521663618

Pub. Date: 02/28/2004

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Throughout the twentieth century, from the furor over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars to the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, otherworldly life has often intrigued and occasionally consumed science and the public. The Biological Universe provides a rich and colorful history of the attempts during the twentieth century to answer

Overview

Throughout the twentieth century, from the furor over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars to the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, otherworldly life has often intrigued and occasionally consumed science and the public. The Biological Universe provides a rich and colorful history of the attempts during the twentieth century to answer questions such as whether "biological law" reigns throughout the universe and whether there are other histories, religions, and philosophies outside those on Earth. Covering a broad range of topics, including the search for life in the solar system, the origins of life, UFOs, and aliens in science fiction, Steven J. Dick shows how the concept of extraterrestrial intelligence is a world view of its own, a "biophysical cosmology" that seeks confirmation no less than physical views of the universe. This book will fascinate astronomers, historians of science, biochemists, and science fiction readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521663618
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Edition description:
1 PBK ED
Pages:
600
Sales rank:
1,356,453
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.34(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. From the physical world to the biological universe: Democritus to Lowell; 2. Plurality of worlds and the decline of anthropocentrism; 3. The solar system: the limits of observation; 4. Solar systems beyond: the limits of theory; 5. Extraterrestrials in literature and the arts: the role of imagination; 6. The UFO controversy: on perception and deception; 7. The origin and evolution of life in the extraterrestrial context; 8. SETI: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; 9. The convergence of disciplines: birth of a new science; 10. The meaning of life; Summary and conclusion: the biological universe and the limits of science.

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