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Life in the Universe: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) [Kindle Edition]

Lewis Dartnell
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Astrobiology, the study of life and its existence in the universe, is now one of the hottest areas of both popular science and serious academic research, fusing biology, chemistry, astrophysics, and geology. In this masterful introduction, Lewis Dartnell explores its latest findings, and explores some of the most fascinating questions in science. What actually is ‘life’? Could it exist on other planets? Could alien cells be based on silicon rather than carbon, or need ammonia instead of water? Introducing some of the most extreme lifeforms on Earth - those thriving in boiling acid or huddled around deep-sea volcanoes - Dartnell takes us on a tour of the universe to reveal how deeply linked we are to our cosmic environment, and shows why the Earth is so uniquely suited for the development of life.


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Review

If one were to read a single book on astrobiology, this would be an excellent choice... The book is a must for the newcomer to astrobiology and an excellent resource for anyone wishing to expand their understanding of the subject. --Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April 2008

Few books are more wide-ranging and thought-provoking than Life in the Universe, an excellent introduction to the emerging science of astrobiology. --Oxford Today

An excellent introduction into the newly emerging and exciting field of astrobiology. --Gerda Horneck - author of /Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System/ and former Head of the Radiation Biology Section, at the German Aerospace Centre DLR in Cologne, Germany

Review

"An excellent introduction into the newly emerging and exciting field of astrobiology." (Gerda Horneck - author of /Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System/ and former Head of the Radi)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there anybody ou there? 25 Sept. 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a book where the author, traveling across the different branches of the tree of science, from biology to astronomy, from geology to chemistry, doesn't forget the roots and foresees the fruits that the future will bring.
RNA and DNA, red dwarfs, extremophiles, the search for a new Earth, possible alien life forms and other caracthers have their role in eight acts of an exciting play.

On a vivid, comprehensive, addicting writing, Dartnell not only embarks on this immense adventure but allow us to join him, giving us space in his vehicule to accompany him in the quest.

The author, besides possessing the knowledge, is gifted to legate it to inquisitory minds and to those giving their first steps in the astrobiology domains, a science conquering its space as times passes.

A book that couldn't be more actual and essencial to understand life, as exoplanets pop out from the darkness of space, as our knowledge about Mars, Titan, Enceladus and other stellar bodies grow, "Life in the Universe: A Beginner's Guide" appears at the perfect time as the perfect guide to know more about the secrets of the alchemy that brought us here and that permit us making the question:
Where might life be waiting us?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating! So much to learn... 2 Jun. 2011
Format:Paperback
I made this purchase as I am embarking on a degree course in Planetry Science. I bought the product speculatively, there were so many results on Amazon when I searched the term 'Astrobiology' that it took quite a long time before finally making a decision. That is not to say the book did not catch my eye quite early in my search.

Having read the book I believe I made the right choice, the author has done a wonderful job in writing this and has clearly done his research. This is very apparent when he explores the possibilities for biological evolution in our own planetry neighborhood, there are some surprises along the way, but the possibilities and drawbacks are reinforced by solid explanations.

I am also pleased to say that this book really gauges your interest, I literally could not stop reading. Rather than just present fact and speculation as they are, the author has gone to some length to tap into your imagination and keep you reading. Some the chapters just drift by without you realizing how much you have taken in. For this reason I will be reading parts of it again.

A beginners guide? Yes and No, there is some serious academic reading here. One of the reasons I held off from buying the book at first was the subtitle, A Beginners Guide. Again I will be re-reading parts of this book because it does contain some quite complex scientific facts. Especially where DNA, RNA and cellular evolution are concerned, but this is a credit to both the book and it's author.

I heartily recommend this work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An informative and well written introduction to Life in the Universe. The book has been written for the general reader with the minimum of jargon. Where complex topics need to be introduced the descriptions are in clear English and easy to understand even by non-chemists and non-biologists and that is a sign of the true art of a popular science book.

An easy and interesting read by someone who has clearly done the background research to pull together hundreds of different strands of research from cosmology to chemistry into a coherent and useful book on an exciting topic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin 12 Aug. 2008
Format:Paperback
This book does what what it says on the tin, providing a compendious account of Life in the Universe for those of us in too much of a hurry to engage with the 200-odd items in the bibliography containing much the same information more diffusely.

When you've taken a look at the other possible places life might lurk you'll be dumbfounded at the implausible growth of life on this planet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastically written book. The style is not too serious and also not too informal. It keeps you interested without exaggerating or being overly speculative. You get a well balanced tour of life on Earth, possible life in the solar system, and life elsewhere. There's biology, astronomy, physics and chemistry woven together in an apt description of the current state of knowledge of life in the universe. Thoroughly recommended to scientists and non-scientists alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 11 April 2010
Format:Paperback
A fascinating book about a complex subject which is easy to understand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Most Interesting 1 Jan. 2014
By pauld
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always thought of ET as being a little green man in a flying saucer, this book educated me a little better in the different forms of life and what we may actually expect to find out there.

Quiet heavy going at times but worth persevering.

Still think ET will arrive one day in a flying saucer and there is a high chance she will be green :-)
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