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The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth

The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth [Kindle Edition]

John Gribbin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A veteran science writer, Gribbin has published more than 100 books over the past four decades. The Reason Why exhibits the comprehensive research and lyrical writing that admirers of Gribbin have come to expect... [it] is an enormously readable book, and it will leave you with a lot to chew over. I heartily recommend it (Lewis Dartnell Times Higher Education )

A fascinating journey through space and time ... this book presents an exciting insight into the many fortuitous events and cosmic quirks that have all come together to make Earth such a life-friendly world (Science Focus )

Product Description

Does one planet really matter among the immensity of the Cosmos? John Gribbin is here to persuade us that it does. In this ground-breaking and provocative new book Gribbin argues that we owe our existence to the impact of a 'supercomet' with Venus 600 million years ago. But this is only part of the story, just one of the astronomical and geophysical reasons why the Earth is special. For the first time, he makes the link between the whole series of cosmic events that have affected the Earth and given rise to our intelligent civilization - a civilization, Gribbin argues, that is unique within our Milky Way Galaxy. Even if other Earths are common, and life itself may be common, the kind of intelligent, technological civilization that has emerged on Earth occurs only here. If humankind can survive the present environmental crises, the whole of the galaxy may become our home. And if not, our demise may be an event of literally universal significance.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1891 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846143276
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W25USE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #259,470 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting spin 13 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a well written and highly readable account of the evolution of life on our planet which attempts to place this story within its cosmic context. John Gribbin succeeds in conveying his argument in an informed and eloquent manner. As ever he makes science highly readable and for me that is a big plus. I am by no means an expert on the subject but I have always been intrigued by the story of life on Earth. I don't know if the author's `unique' spin has strong academic merit, although the quality of his argumentation would suggest it has. I am aware that it has been argued previously that the existence of our moon has been critical in creating the conditions for life on Earth. However, the author builds on this to develop a new and, it would appear, more radical thesis: that the moon's role is such that a technologically advanced civilisation is unique to our planet. This is a brave assertion given the potential number of habitable planets not only in our galaxy but the whole universe. Of course only time will tell if his argument is a valid one. I was reminded of the premise that underpinned Isaac Asimov's novels: the only life in the galaxy exists on Earth and it is humanity's destiny to populate the stars (this is a recollection from the 1970s so I hope I'm correct here!). An engrossing read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth's unique place in our Galaxy. 14 Nov 2011
By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER
With an estimated trillion stars in our Galaxy alone it seems reasonable to suppose that countless Earth-like planets must exist with intelligent life emerging on many of them. However, John Gribbin puts forward numerous astronomical and geophysical reasons why our intelligent, technological civilization is unique within the Milky Way Galaxy.
'The Reason Why' is an accessible and thought-provoking book explaining Earth's special place in our Galaxy. John Gribbin argues convincingly that the chance of any other technological civilization existing is very remote and we have to get used to the idea of being alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reading 2 Jun 2011
John Gribbin's books are always worth reading - sound science and good writing. "The Reason Why" is yet another, and anyone who wants to find out more about the cosmos and "our place in it" will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are We Unique? 25 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an absorbing read through a wide range of evidence about the possibilities of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Each arguement, concerning the chances of life evolving, is supported by informed evidence which,however,can sometimes be lengthy.The use of a diagram would often help with both length and clarity; an example is the use of a frontal and an edge view of our Galaxy.There are some ambiguities, which suggest more editing was needed. An example here is the doubtful expression:- "quartz crystallises out of the molten magma leaving it richer in silica"(quartz is silica).A reader will finish feeling that he,or she, has had a refreshing experience of the dependence of human existance on a narrow band of conditions in each of the Galaxy, Sun, Solar System and the Earth.This precious Earth has provided a home for evolution over a vast period of time.
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