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From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System Hardcover – 24 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (24 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691145229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691145228
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"[T]here is much solid information to be gleaned from careful reading."--Publishers Weekly

"[A] stellar read . . ."--Nature

"This is not your average tour of our solar system. Using clear, relatively jargon-free language, Chambers and Mitton provide a comprehensive examination of our current understanding of its formation, which should readily appeal to the general reader who enjoys scientific detail without getting into equations."--Library Journal

"I recently built an app about the solar system, and my research would have been made a lot easier if I had possessed a copy of this excellent book. It provides a truly comprehensive overview of our solar system's origins and is written in plain, jargon-free language."--Marcus Chown, New Scientist

"Chambers and Mitton stay focused on the science in From Dust to Life: unlike other books that create narratives around the scientists, they discuss the science and the history of its development, rather than the individuals who made it possible. That's a worthwhile trade: while there have been, and are today, interesting people studying the formation of the solar system, the science is even more fascinating as we find out just how complex the process is to turn a cloud of gas and dust into a star and planets."--Jeff Foust, Space Review

"[I]ncredibly thorough and detailed, yet very accessible to non-scientists too. . . . [A] compelling overview of the evolution of the Solar System."--Katia Moskvitch, BBC Sky at Night

"Read From Dust to Life to gain a fascinating perspective on the current state of the science behind solar system formation."--David Dickinson, Astro Guys blog

"This wild ride across the cosmos and through time covers a lot of territory but isn't merely a laundry list of observations. Instead, readers will find one lucid explanation piggybacked onto another. . . . The authors, a planetary scientist and a space science writer, make celestial mechanics comprehensible even to readers with more curiosity than scientific background. Yet there are still insights for those who regularly pore over the astronomy stories in Science News. Best of all, the authors help readers glimpse the why of it all."--Science News

"This book . . . is accessible to a scientifically literate general reader. . . . The author team is eminently qualified . . . one is a well-known planetary scientist and the other an experienced science writer. The result of their efforts is a highly readable book."--Star Formation Newsletter

"Chambers and Mitton present a well-researched, detailed, big-picture overview of the solar system that shows how all of people's observations of its contents contribute to a coherent model for its origin. The authors place the modern theory and latest observations in historical context by beginning each chapter with an overview of the development of these scientific ideas from their beginning."--Choice

"This book is up-to date, thorough, and authoritative. It revels in the latest discussions and controversies. . . . It is a joy to read and is accessible to any student with a scientific background. . . . Read this book. Join the cosmogonists and help change the cosmogony/cosmology ratio."--David W. Hughes, Observatory

"For the interested amateur with a degree of familiarity with the topics under discussion, From Dust to Life furnishes a comprehensive overview of current models for the formation of the solar system. . . . Genuinely exciting."--Cait MacPhee, Times Higher Education

From the Back Cover

"As an astrophysicist credentialed in the days before the space era, I figured reading another book on the solar system would be a big yawn. Surprise! I couldn't have been more wrong! Here is an eye-opening up-to-date reconnaissance of what's in our part of the universe and how it has evolved. Along the way, this arresting account reveals how unique our planetary system really is."--Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"The origin of our solar system is among the hottest and most fascinating research topics in all of planetary science and astronomy. Chambers and Mitton have produced a compelling and up-to-date survey of this field that reads quickly and authoritatively and leaves no stone unturned in surveying the landscape of this vast and rich topic. I recommend it with gusto!"--Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute

"John Chambers is one of the world's leading authorities on the origin of the solar system, and here, together with Jacqueline Mitton, provides an engaging summary of the new discoveries for a wider audience. This book is unquestionably the most up-to-date and authoritative popular presentation of current thinking on the subject."--Philip J. Armitage, author of Astrophysics of Planet Formation

"There is no other book out there that discusses the origin of the solar system in this much detail yet is still accessible to nonscientists. Chambers and Mitton do an excellent job of keeping abreast of the notable discoveries in recent years."--Jane Luu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"An exciting and rewarding read from cover to cover. You come away feeling well-served and well-educated. This is a great book."--Erik Asphaug, University of California, Santa Cruz


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Taylor on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this to get an update on the solar system, specifically with regards to the trans-Neptunian worlds that have been discovered in the last 2 or 3 decades (thanks to the invention of the charged coupled device.) There was only one chapter out of fifteen devoted to this outer region of the solar system, however this was an appropriate proportion and I was very pleased with the content.

The early part of this book was used to set both the historical context by with the planets have been understood and cosmological background by which the reader can make sense of the later chapters i.e. The book was well structured and the brief discussion of radioactivity was very necessary. The subject matter of the book mainly related to the non-living cosmic events which a made a suitable cradle for life, rather than any detailed discussion of primitive life.

Two minor criticisms relating to editing of the text (hopefully not my misunderstanding) : (1) p74 "The universe is 13.75 billion years old with an uncertainty of 0.13 billion years. One of the oldest known stars in the Milky way has an age of 13.82 billion years." - Are stars in our galaxy (which itself took time to form) really older than the likely age of the universe? (2) p244 " If Kuiper were correct, the region beyond Neptune would be empty today except for Pluto." I think this should read "not be empty".

All said, I was well pleased with the other 273 pages of this book and the authors were clear in distinguishing the borderline between well established theories and plausible speculations. I have a long time interest in cosmology, but was glad to learn plenty from this book.
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By MR P VAN DER BURGT on 8 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book providing an excellent and up-to-date overview of what we know about the origin of the Solar System.
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By Sir Barnabas VINE VOICE on 15 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book describing the birth, evolution and future of our solar system. Drawing on the most current theories and evidence, the authors give a detailed but accessible account of how our Sun formed along with the planets their moons as well as other objects such as asteroids.

Overall, a very well written and presented account. Definitely a must for anyone interested in learning about this particular aspect of our history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding summary of solar system science 18 Jan. 2014
By Barney Collier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well written account of what is currently known about the origin and evolution of the solar system. The book begins with the Big Bang and summarizes what is known about the history of the universe before the formation of the sun and its system of planets. It includes a nice summary of the history of solar system astronomy, from the early geocentric theories through Copernicus & Kepler and on to the more recent theories concerning the origin of the inner planets (including the moon), the outer planets, the asteroids, the comets, and the minor planets (including Pluto). Although the development and evolution of life on earth is not the main focus of the book, the authors do include a brief discussion of possible mechanisms for its origin and the influence of life on the history of the earth - especially it's atmosphere. The authors not only describe what is currently known or believed and how we know or why we believe them, but the earlier erroneous theories and how we came to know that they were in error. The book concludes with a description of the outstanding questions that remain to be answered and some of the space missions that are underway or planned to try to answer these questions.

The book is well organized, partly on a historical basis and partly by the various classes of solar system objects. The progression of chapters made sense and there were references (& hyperlinks) to previous and following chapters at appropriate points. It is easily accessible to the general reader, and I certainly found it fascinating and engaging. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the exploration of the solar system or has ever wondered how it came to be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
All those questions answered 22 April 2014
By Laurie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great, relevant book; I'm ordering a copy for my local library. The information is understandable by the layperson and very worth the read.
Good survey of current knowledge 7 April 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a quick read, but well worth the time. Well researched and organized. I enjoyed the book and recommend it highly.
Nice Cover 18 Feb. 2015
By DaveH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book in order to learn more about our solar system and it was okay for describing the origins but was lacking in describing the individual planets. The terrestrial planets were only given about a chapter and I was very disappointed that more was not said about them.
Five Stars 20 Nov. 2014
By Beeghly Library Acquisitions - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, timely delivery.
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