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From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life By J. L. Cranford

From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life

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From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life Summary

From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life: The New Science of Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe by J. L. Cranford

This book tells the incredible story of the birth of a whole new field of science called Astrobiology. In the 1990's, powerful new ground - based telescopes plus space telescopes placed in orbits high above earth's atmosphere allowed astronomers to begin discovering that our sun is not the only star in our galaxy to have planets circling it. These new planet hunters (as they called themselves) quickly found that planetary "homes" for extraterrestrial life-forms might be relatively common in the universe. A few years earlier, beginning in the mid 1970's, our life scientists also made a series of startling new discoveries that forced them to question their long held belief that life might be an extremely complicated and fragile process that requires equally complex and fragile environments for it to happen. Single-cell bacterial like organisms were suddenly found living on our planet in extreme hostile environments that everyone believed should instantly kill any normal forms of earth life. Some of these creatures lived in extremely hot or even boiling water which was extremely salty, acidic, or alkaline. A few chose to make their homes inside icebergs, while still others chose even more bizarre environments, such as inside rocks located miles below ground or on the power rods or coils inside nuclear power plants. These life-forms appear to be the direct descendants of the earliest life that managed to evolve almost four billion years ago when our world was extremely hot and believed to be totally unfriendly to any forms of life that we are familiar with today. Our scientists now realized that life, even earth life, may be far more resilient and adaptive to extreme living conditions than previously thought possible and might be able to survive in extreme environments that might exist on other worlds in the universe. And it was not just the planet hunters and the life scientists that experienced a sudden reality check at the end of the 20th century as a result of the rise of computers. Our earth scientists also now discovered that the earth, instead of being a passive ball of rock and gases, was a dynamic changing entity that had been able, over billions of years following its formation, to undergo complex physical changes in conjunction with life itself (i.e., to co-evolve) to produce an incredibly life friendly biosphere that today is literally teeming with fantastic varieties of life virtually everywhere and anywhere we choose to look. Our space, life, and earth scientists now have the technology they need to move from speculating or fantasizing about life on other worlds to possibly providing mankind with the first definitive proof that we are not alone in the universe.

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From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life Reviews

"The book provides very clear background to the subject, from early days when seeing was believing, to the scientific feasibility of space travel." --Science Spin (November 2011)

About J. L. Cranford

While the author has no formal training in astronomy or the space sciences, he has been a dedicated "amateur" in this area from childhood. After graduating from high school, the author chose to pursue a career as a brain scientist rather than upgrading his astronomy hobby to a fulltime occupation. Between 1964 and 1970, Professor Cranford earned a BA in Psychology from Wichita State University, a Ph.D in Experimental Psychology from Vanderbilt university, a Neuroscience Post-doctoral Fellowship from Duke University and, in 1984, a M.C.D in Clinical Audiology from Louisiana State University. Over the years working up from a Research Associate to an Associate Professor, to becoming a Professor in 1996, he has overseen various student theses and doctoral dissertations. He has also been involved in seven research grants exploring many topics associated with hearing science and deafness. He has written three textbooks and contributed over 60 journal articles. He has also been involved with many clinical studies in his area. Although now retired as a brain scientist, he continues to be a very active "amateur" astrobiologist (ergo the present book).

Table of Contents

Preface * Computers, Rocket Science and the Birth of Astrobiology * Our Vast and Hostile Life-Friendly Universe * How Life Works on Planet Earth * How Life and Earth Co-Evolved to Produce a Life Friendly Biosphere * The Search for Other Worlds and Other Life-forms * The Possibility of Visiting or Communicating with Extraterrestrial Civilizations * Some Final Thoughts from the Author * Index

Additional information

From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life: The New Science of Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe by J. L. Cranford
J. L. Cranford
Used - Very Good
5m Publishing
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.