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The Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin in the Stars [Hardcover]

Jacob Berkowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

24 Aug 2012
Three great scientific revolutions have shaped our understanding of the cosmos and our relationship to it. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed the Copernican Revolution, which bodychecked the Earth as the pivot point of creation and joined us with the rest of the cosmos as one planet among many orbiting the Sun. Three centuries later came the second great scientific revolution: the Darwinian Revolution. It removed us from a distinct, divine biological status to place us wholly in the ebb and flow of all terrestrial life.

This book describes how we’re in the midst of a third great scientific revolution, five centuries in the making: the Stardust Revolution. It is the merging of the once-disparate realms of astronomy and evolutionary biology, and of the Copernican and Darwinian Revolutions, placing life in a cosmic context.

The Stardust Revolution takes readers on a grand journey that begins on the summit of California’s Mount Wilson, where astronomers first realized that the universe is both expanding and evolving, to a radio telescope used to identify how organic molecules—the building blocks of life—are made by stars. It’s an epic story told through a scientific cast that includes some of the twentieth century’s greatest minds—including Nobel laureate Charles Townes, who discovered cosmic water—as well as the most ambitious scientific explorers of the twenty-first century, those racing to find another living planet.

Today, an entirely new breed of scientists—astrobiologists and astrochemists—are taking the study of life into the space age. Astrobiologists study the origins, evolution, and distribution of life, not just on Earth, but in the universe. Stardust science is filling in the missing links in our evolutionary story, ones that extend our family tree back to the stars.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (24 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145491
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 557,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 10 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a very qualified source and was I not disappointed extremely thought provoking could not put it down
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book about our roots in the stars 8 Sep 2012
By Robert Adler - Published on
The Stardust Revolution surprised and delighted me from the first page. Its core idea is not new--popularized by Carl Sagan many years ago when he said the we are star stuff contemplating the stars--but Berkowitz turns that from a lovely thought into up-to-the-minute science-based reality. With verve and patience, he guides readers through the relevant parts of the history of science, for example the invention of spectroscopy, the gradual understanding of how the elements were forged in the big bang and in supernovas, and the more recent and continuing discovery of organic molecules in space. He makes a convincing case that the earth and almost certainly planets throughout the galaxy were richly seeded with complex, mostly carbon-based molecules that were the necessary ingredients and precursors for life. Berkowitz takes us on this journey with vivid detail, often brilliant metaphors, and quotes from the dozens of researchers he interviewed. As a science writer, I know how much hard work and thought went into this masterful and enlightening book. Bravo!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new STAR in the cosmo-bibliographic firmament! 1 Nov 2012
By Peter Nelson - Published on
As a longtime stargazer and lover of all things cosmological, I have probably read 100 books on astronomy and cosmology and the history of these two celestial disciplines, but I was amazed and astonished at all the new information provided by the author of "The Stardust Revolution". I expected to be fascinated by this book, as I enjoy everything remotely related to this subject, but I wasn't expecting to find it as readable and exciting as a fiction thriller! Try this book. You will not be disappointed. Mr. Berkowitz brings such a fresh perspective to mankind's most ancient science that the book is indeed a revolution!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stardust Revolution rocks! 6 Nov 2012
By Wendell Fraser - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book detailing the scientific history and experiments that supported the idea that star dust is indeed the matter of our planet and us....and the matter of alien life forms and planets too! This book is it.

We are canned starstuff that walks around and thinks. We come from exploded stars and so does the Earth you're standing on right now. All of the atoms of your body down to the calcium in your bones was brewed chemically inside a star for billions of years and then it was released into the universe via stars exploding. A stellar pollination!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book. 5 Feb 2013
By Kurt Erlenbach - Published on
This is a superb book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
The universe's most amazing fact is that all the elements heavier than helium were created in stars that lived well before the sun's and earth's creation. The second most amazing fact is that the rules of physics and chemistry are the same throughout the universe, meaning that what we learn about physics and chemistry on earth apply to physics and chemistry throughout the universe. Those two facts underlie Stardust Revolution. The book traces the creation of elements from the Big Bang through the earliest stars, into more stars, and through the creation of molecules in interstellar space to the still tenuous connection between those molecules to those on earth, to the beginning of life on earth. It's a great story. Some of the story is well-established, some of it is cutting edge science, and some of it is still speculation, but it's a great story. I've read several books on this general topic, but I've seen none that puts all the elements of the story together as well as this one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read 26 Nov 2012
By P. Zimmer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Stardust Revolution traces the history of our understanding of our place in the universe over the past five hundred years, with a particular focus on the past fifty. The book is eminently readable, solidly researched and well worth the time. It would make a wonderful christmas gift for anyone interested in where we came from and what we are.
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