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Civilized Life in the Universe

By George Basalla
  • ISBN Code: : 9780198038351
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Pages : 248
  • Category : Science
  • Reads : 803
  • Book Compatibility : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Pdf : civilized-life-in-the-universe.pdf

Book Excerpt :

This book is a selective and fascinating history of scientific speculation about intelligent extraterrestrial life. From Plutarch to Stephen Hawking, some of the most prominent western scientists have had quite detailed perceptions and misperceptions about alien civilizations: Johannes Kepler, fresh from transforming astronomy with his work on the shape of planetary orbits, was quite sure alien engineers on the moon were excavating circular pits to provide shelter; Christiaan Huygens, the most prominent physical scientist between Galileo and Newton, dismissed Kepler's speculations, but used the laws of probability to prove that "planetarians" on other worlds are much like humans, and had developed a sense of the visual arts; Carl Sagan sees clearly that Huygens is a biological chauvinist, but doesn't see as clearly that he, Sagan, may be a cultural/technological chauvinist when he assumes aliens have highly developed technology like ours, but better. Basalla traces the influence of one speculation on the next, showing an unbroken but twisting chain of ideas passed from one scientist to the next, and from science to popular culture. He even traces the influence of popular culture on science--Sagan always admitted how much E. R. Burroughs' Martian novels influenced his speculations about Mars. Throughout, Basalla weaves his theme that scientific belief in and search for extraterrestrial civilizations is a complex impulse, part secularized-religious, and part anthropomorphic. He questions the common modern scientific reasoning that life converges on intelligence, and intelligence converges on one science valid everywhere. He ends the book by agreeing with Stephen Hawking (usually a safe bet) that intelligence is overrated for survival in the universe, and that we are most likely alone.

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

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Book Short Summary:

How scientists through the ages have conducted thought experiments using imaginary entities—demons—to test the laws of nature and push the frontiers of what is possible Science may be known for banishing the demons of superstition from the modern world. Yet just as the demon-haunted world was being exorcized by the enlightening power of reason, a new kind of demon mischievously materialized in the scientific imagination itself. Scientists began to employ hypothetical beings to perform certain roles in thought experiments—experiments that can only be done in the imagination—and these impish assistants helped scientists achieve major breakthroughs that pushed forward the frontiers of science and technology. Spanning four centuries of discovery—from René Descartes, whose demon could hijack sensorial reality, to James Clerk Maxwell, whose molecular-sized demon deftly broke the second law of thermodynamics, to Darwin, Einstein, Feynman, and beyond—Jimena Canales tells a shadow history of science and the demons that bedevil it. She reveals how the greatest scientific thinkers used demons to explore problems, test the limits of what is possible, and better understand nature. Their imaginary familiars helped unlock the secrets of entropy, heredity, relativity, quantum mechanics, and other scientific wonders—and continue to inspire breakthroughs in the realms of computer science, artificial intelligence, and economics today. The world may no longer be haunted as it once was, but the demons of the scientific imagination are alive and well, continuing to play a vital role in scientists' efforts to explore the unknown and make the impossible real.

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  • Pdf File: weird-life.pdf

Book Short Summary:

“Weird indeed, and not a little wonderful.”—Nature In the 1980s and 1990s, in places where no one thought it possible, scientists found organisms they called extremophiles: lovers of extremes. There were bacteria in volcanic hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, single-celled algae in Antarctic ice floes, and fungi in the cooling pools of nuclear reactors. But might there be life stranger than the most extreme extremophile? Might there be, somewhere, another kind of life entirely? In fact, scientists have hypothesized life that uses ammonia instead of water, life based not in carbon but in silicon, life driven by nuclear chemistry, and life whose very atoms are unlike those in life we know. In recent years some scientists have begun to look for the tamer versions of such life on rock surfaces in the American Southwest, in a “shadow biosphere” that might impinge on the known biosphere, and even deep within human tissue. They have also hypothesized more radical versions that might survive in Martian permafrost, in the cold ethylene lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, and in the hydrogen-rich atmospheres of giant planets in other solar systems. And they have imagined it in places off those worlds: the exotic ices in comets, the vast spaces between the stars, and—strangest of all—parallel universes. Distilling complex science in clear and lively prose, David Toomey illuminates the research of the biological avant-garde and describes the workings of weird organisms in riveting detail. His chapters feature an unforgettable cast of brilliant scientists and cover everything from problems with our definitions of life to the possibility of intelligent weird life. With wit and understanding that will delight scientists and lay readers alike, Toomey reveals how our current knowledge of life forms may account for only a tiny fraction of what’s really out there.

Cosmos

By Carl Sagan
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Ballantine Books
  • Book Code : 0307800989
  • Total of Pages : 389
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 946
  • Pdf File: cosmos.pdf

Book Short Summary:

RETURNING TO TELEVISION AS AN ALL-NEW MINISERIES ON FOX Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science. Praise for Cosmos “Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.”—The Plain Dealer “Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third—his mind’s—on the human condition.”—Newsday “Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions . . . shimmers with a sense of wonder.”—The Miami Herald “Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.”—Cosmopolitan “Enticing . . . iridescent . . . imaginatively illustrated.”—The New York Times Book Review NOTE: This edition does not include images.

Noa's Ark

By C. Gockel
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : C. Gockel
  • Book Code : N.a
  • Total of Pages : 341
  • Category : Fiction
  • Members : 397
  • Pdf File: noa-s-ark.pdf

Book Short Summary:

First contact didn’t go as planned… Time Gate 8, one of humanity’s portals between the stars, has been overrun by a mysterious alien intelligence, and the planet Luddeccea is now cut off. Haunted by those she left behind, Commander Noa Sato is on a desperate mission to save her homeworld. Navigating the ancient Ark, she seeks a hidden gate that will transport her ship to Earth and the Galactic Fleet. But the Luddeccean system harbors dangers, and so does her crew. The only crew member she completely trusts is James Sinclair, but he doesn’t trust himself. James isn’t the man he once was. He has a hunger that is never sated, kills without regrets, and is fitted with extraordinary augments he doesn’t remember getting. Can James control his augments, or will they control him? In a future where almost all humans are augmented, James’s answer and Noa’s mission will determine the fate of the human race … and the enemy is already within the gates.

God Particle

By Leon Lederman,Dick Teresi
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : HMH
  • Book Code : 0547524625
  • Total of Pages : 448
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 655
  • Pdf File: god-particle.pdf

Book Short Summary:

A Nobel Prize–winning physicist’s “funny, clever, entertaining” account of the history of particle physics and the hunt for a Higgs boson (Library Journal). In this extraordinarily accessible and witty book, Leon Lederman—“the most engaging physicist since the late, much-missed Richard Feynman” (San Francisco Examiner)—offers a fascinating tour that takes us from the Greeks’ earliest scientific observations through Einstein and beyond in an inspiring celebration of human curiosity. It ends with the quest for the Higgs boson, nicknamed the God Particle, which scientists hypothesize will help unlock the last secrets of the subatomic universe. This is not only an enlightening journey through baryons and hadrons and leptons and electrons—it also “may be the funniest book about physics ever written” (The Dallas Morning News). “One of the clearest, most enjoyable new science books in years . . . explains the entire history of physics and cosmology. En route, you’ll laugh so hard you won’t realize how much you are learning.” —San Francisco Examiner “The story of the search for the ultimate constituents of matter has been told many times before, but never with more verve and wit. . . . His hilarious account of how he helped persuade President Reagan to approve the construction of the Super Collider is itself worth the price of the book.” —Los Angeles Times

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

By Mike Brown
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Random House
  • Book Code : 0385531095
  • Total of Pages : 288
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 866
  • Pdf File: how-i-killed-pluto-and-why-it-had-it-coming.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of adding one more planet to our solar system, Brown’s find ignited a firestorm of controversy that culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of “dwarf” planet. Suddenly Brown was receiving hate mail from schoolchildren and being bombarded by TV reporters—all because of the discovery he had spent years searching for and a lifetime dreaming about. A heartfelt and personal journey filled with both humor and drama, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is the book for anyone, young or old, who has ever imagined exploring the universe—and who among us hasn’t?

Alien Ocean

By Stefan Helmreich
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Univ of California Press
  • Book Code : 0520942604
  • Total of Pages : 422
  • Category : Social Science
  • Members : 315
  • Pdf File: alien-ocean.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by marine biologists, worlds usually out of sight and reach: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans beyond national boundaries. Working alongside scientists at sea and in labs in Monterey Bay, Hawai'i, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Sargasso Sea and at undersea volcanoes in the eastern Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and remote sensing have pressed marine biologists to see the sea as animated by its smallest inhabitants: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly extreme conditions, such microbes have become key figures in scientific and public debates about the origin of life, climate change, biotechnology, and even the possibility of life on other worlds.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

By Steve Brusatte
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : HarperCollins
  • Book Code : 0062490451
  • Total of Pages : 416
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 205
  • Pdf File: the-rise-and-fall-of-the-dinosaurs.pdf

Book Short Summary:

"THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BIOGRAPHY," hails Scientific American: A thrilling new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists. "A masterpiece of science writing." —Washington Post A New York Times Bestseller • Goodreads Choice Awards Winner • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Smithsonian, Science Friday, The Times (London), Popular Mechanics, Science News "This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." —Nature The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before. In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages. Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.” Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China. An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come. Includes 75 images, world maps of the prehistoric earth, and a dinosaur family tree.

The Emergent Multiverse

By David Wallace
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Book Code : 0191631345
  • Total of Pages :
  • Category : Philosophy
  • Members : 444
  • Pdf File: the-emergent-multiverse.pdf

Book Short Summary:

The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world, it seems to make crazy claims: particles are in two places at once; cats are alive and dead at the same time. So physicists and philosophers have often been led either to give up on the idea that quantum theory describes reality, or to modify or augment the theory. The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics takes the apparent craziness seriously, and asks, 'what would it be like if particles really were in two places at once, if cats really were alive and dead at the same time'? The answer, it turns out, is that if the world were like that—if it were as quantum theory claims—it would be a world that, at the macroscopic level, was constantly branching into copies—hence the more sensationalist name for the Everett interpretation, the 'many worlds theory'. But really, the interpretation is not sensationalist at all: it simply takes quantum theory seriously, literally, as a description of the world. Once dismissed as absurd, it is now accepted by many physicists as the best way to make coherent sense of quantum theory. David Wallace offers a clear and up-to-date survey of work on the Everett interpretation in physics and in philosophy of science, and at the same time provides a self-contained and thoroughly modern account of it—an account which is accessible to readers who have previously studied quantum theory at undergraduate level, and which will shape the future direction of research by leading experts in the field.

How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe

By Chris Impey
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company
  • Book Code : 0393083055
  • Total of Pages : 448
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 211
  • Pdf File: how-it-began.pdf

Book Short Summary:

“Impey combines the vision of a practicing scientist with the voice of a gifted storyteller.”—Dava Sobel In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris Impey guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the Big Bang. What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Impey uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Impey brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe. The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote: we travel from the Moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy. Impey gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history. His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind-bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes. A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its readers with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.

The Mound Builder Myth

By Jason Colavito
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : University of Oklahoma Press
  • Book Code : 080616669X
  • Total of Pages : 402
  • Category : History
  • Members : 783
  • Pdf File: the-mound-builder-myth.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Say you found that a few dozen people, operating at the highest levels of society, conspired to create a false ancient history of the American continent to promote a religious, white-supremacist agenda in the service of supposedly patriotic ideals. Would you call it fake news? In nineteenth-century America, this was in fact a powerful truth that shaped Manifest Destiny. The Mound Builder Myth is the first book to chronicle the attempt to recast the Native American burial mounds as the work of a lost white race of “true” native Americans. Thomas Jefferson’s pioneering archaeology concluded that the earthen mounds were the work of Native Americans. In the 1894 report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Cyrus Thomas concurred, drawing on two decades of research. But in the century in between, the lie took hold, with Presidents Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Abraham Lincoln adding their approval and the Mormon Church among those benefiting. Jason Colavito traces this monumental deception from the farthest reaches of the frontier to the halls of Congress, mapping a century-long conspiracy to fabricate and promote a false ancient history—and enumerating its devastating consequences for contemporary Native people. Built upon primary sources and first-person accounts, the story that The Mound Builder Myth tells is a forgotten chapter of American history—but one that reads like the Da Vinci Code as it plays out at the upper reaches of government, religion, and science. And as far-fetched as it now might seem that a lost white race once ruled prehistoric America, the damage done by this “ancient” myth has clear echoes in today’s arguments over white nationalism, multiculturalism, “alternative facts,” and the role of science and the control of knowledge in public life.

The Eerie Silence

By Paul Davies
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : HarperCollins
  • Book Code : 0547488491
  • Total of Pages : 272
  • Category : Science
  • Members : 312
  • Pdf File: the-eerie-silence.pdf

Book Short Summary:

One of the world’s leading scientists explains why—and how—the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded. Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake first pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). After a half-century of scanning the skies, however, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence—eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. Physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has been closely involved with SETI for three decades and chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we’re suddenly confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. He believes the search so far has fallen into an anthropocentric trap—assuming that an alien species will look, think, and behave much like us. In this provocative book Davies refocuses the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if it does.

The Dark Forest

By Cixin Liu
  • File : Pdf, ePub, Mobi, Kindle
  • Publisher : Tor Books
  • Book Code : 1466853433
  • Total of Pages : 480
  • Category : Fiction
  • Members : 198
  • Pdf File: the-dark-forest.pdf

Book Short Summary:

Soon to be a Netflix Original Series! "Wildly imaginative." —President Barack Obama on The Three-Body Problem trilogy This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author. In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead. The Three-Body Problem Series The Three-Body Problem The Dark Forest Death's End Other Books Ball Lightning Supernova Era To Hold Up The Sky (forthcoming) At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.