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The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth Hardcover – 28 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; Second Impression edition (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846143276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846143274
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 702,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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)

About the Author

John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Stardust, Science: A History and Deep Simplicity. He is famous to his many fans for making complex ideas simple, and says that his aim in his writing - much of it done with his wife, Mary Gribbin - is to share with his readers his sense of wonder at the strangeness of the universe. John Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald R on 25 Sept. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Price on 2 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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