Here Be Dragons: The Scientific Quest for Extraterrestrial Life by David W. KoernerHere Be Dragons: The Scientific Quest for Extraterrestrial Life by David W. Koerner

Here Be Dragons: The Scientific Quest for Extraterrestrial Life

byDavid W. Koerner, Simon LeVay

Paperback | December 15, 2001

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The discovery of life on other planets would be perhaps the most momentous revelation in human history, more disorienting and more profound than either the Copernican or Darwinian revolutions, which knocked the earth from the centre of the universe and humankind from its position of loftyself-regard. In Here Be Dragons, astronomer David Koerner and neurobiologist Simon LeVay offer a scientifically compelling and colourful account of the search for life beyond Earth.The authors survey the work of biologists, cosmologists, computer theorists, NASA engineers, SETI researchers, roboticists, and UFO enthusiasts and debunkers as they attempt to answer the greatest remaining question facing humankind: Are we alone? From their 'safe haven of scepticism' the authorsventure into the 'rough seas of speculation', where theory and evidence run the gamut from hard science to hocus pocus.Arguing that the universe is spectacularly suited for the evolution of living creatures, Koerner and LeVay give us ringside seats at the great debates of Big Science. The contentious arguments about what really happens in evolution, the acrimonious UFO controversy, and the debate over intelligenceversus artificial intelligence shed new light on the wildly divergent claims about the universe and life's place in it. The authors argue that while no direct evidence of extraterrestrial life yet exists, habitats and chemical building blocks for life abound in the universe. A wealth of newastonomical techniques and space missions may provide this evidence early in the next century. Lucidly written and scientifically rigorous, Here Be Dragons presents everything we know thus far about the emergence of intelligent life here on Earth, and perhaps, beyond.
David Koerner is an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. Simon LeVay is an Independent Consultant and former Associate Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Title:Here Be Dragons: The Scientific Quest for Extraterrestrial LifeFormat:PaperbackPublished:December 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019514600X

ISBN - 13:9780195146004

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionOrigins: How Life on Earth BeganGoing to Extremes: The Habitats and Requirements for LifeThe Incredible Shrinking Martians: Searching for Life in the Solar SystemThe Death and Life of Stars: Organic Chemistry and the Evolution of Solar SystemsThe Planet Finders: Searching for Life Beyond the SunWhat Happens in Evolution? Chance and Necessity in the Origin of Biological ComplexitySETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial IntelligenceDreamland: The Science and Religion of UFOsExotica: Life as we don't know itMany Worlds: Cosmology and the Anthropic PrincipleConclusionEndnotes

Editorial Reviews

`It is the question of questions: Are we alone? In a dazzling tour de force David Koerner and Simon LeVay not only bring us completely up-to-date with the relevant science, but skillfully channel the character and enthusiasm of many of the principal practitioners into a compelling narrative,spiced with the occasional puncturing of self-inflicted pomposity. The pace is gripping and the torrent of new scientific insights allows us the first glimpse of what may be a cosmic synthesis...If you thought science was stale and narrow, then this is the book to correct your illusions.'Simon Conway Morris, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, and author of the Crucible of Creation