Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe

Paperback | December 10, 2003

byPeter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee

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The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate--though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this stage is very rare. Everyone with an interest in the possible extent of life in the Universe and the nature of life's evolution on our own planet will be fascinated by Rare Earth. "...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..." The New York Times "...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..." Newsday (New York) "...a sobering and valuable perspective..." Science "...a startling new hypothesis..." Library Journal "...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..." The Economist "...provocative, significant, and sweeping..." Northwest Science & Technology "...a stellar example of clear writing..." American Scientist

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From the Publisher

The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate--though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this sta...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:372 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0.27 inPublished:December 10, 2003Publisher:Springer New YorkLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387952896

ISBN - 13:9780387952895

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Table of Contents

ContentsPreface to the Paperback Edition Preface to the First EditionIntroduction: The Astrobiology Revolution and the Rare Earth Hypothesis Dead Zones of the Universe Rare Earth Factors 1 Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe 2 Habitable Zones of the Universe 3 Building a Habitable Earth 4 Life's First Appearance on Earth 5 How to Build Animals 6 Snowball Earth 7 The Enigma of the Cambrian Explosion 8 Mass Extinctions and the Rare Earth Hypothesis9 The Surprising Importance of Plate Tectonics 10 The Moon, Jupiter, and Life on Earth 11 Testing the Rare Earth Hypotheses 12 Assessing the Odds 13 Messengers from the Stars References Index

Editorial Reviews

"...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..."The New York Times"...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..."Newsday (New York)"...a sobering and valuable perspective..."Science"...a startling new hypothesis..."Library Journal"...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..."The Economist"...provocative, significant, and sweeping..."Northwest Science & Technology"...a stellar example of clear writing..."American Scientist