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The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life

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The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

andlt;bigandgt;Are We Alone in the Universe?andlt;/bigandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; In this provocative and far-reaching book, internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries — the origin of life. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life once existed on Mars, might it have originated there and traveled to earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts? andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Davies builds on recent scientific discoveries and theories to address larger questions of existence: What, exactly, is life? Is it the inevitable by-product of physical laws, as many scientists maintain, or an almost miraculous accident? Are we alone in the universe, or will life emerge on all earthlike planets? And if there is life elsewhere in the universe, is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence? andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Through his search for answers to these questions, Davies explores the ultimate mystery of mankind's existence — who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmos.

Synopsis:

Are We Alone in the Universe?

In this provocative and far-reaching book, internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries — the origin of life.

Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life once existed on Mars, might it have originated there and traveled to earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts?

Davies builds on recent scientific discoveries and theories to address larger questions of existence: What, exactly, is life? Is it the inevitable by-product of physical laws, as many scientists maintain, or an almost miraculous accident? Are we alone in the universe, or will life emerge on all earthlike planets? And if there is life elsewhere in the universe, is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence?

Through his search for answers to these questions, Davies explores the ultimate mystery of mankind's existence — who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmos.

Synopsis:

An award-winning, bestselling author shows how recent and imminent scientific discoveries will transform the understanding of life's origins and raise the fundamental question: Are we alone in the universe? 11 drawings.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-291) and index (p.293-304)

About the Author

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist and the bestselling author of more than twenty books. He won the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the philosophical meaning of science. His books include About Time, The Mind of God, and God and the New Physics.

Table of Contents

Contents

 Preface Chapter 1: The Meaning of Life Life's mysterious origin What is life? The life force and other discredited notions The tale of the ancient molecule Microbes and the search for Eden Chapter 2: Against the Tide The degeneration principle Where does biological information come from? The entropy gap: gravity as the fountainhead of order Chapter 3: Out of the Slime The tree of life The three domains of life The earliest rock fossils Spontaneous generation Re-creating the primordial soup Chance and the origin of life Chapter 4: The Message in the Machine Replicate, replicate! Making a living The genetic code Getting the message A code within the code? Chapter 5: The Chicken-and-Egg Paradox RNA first RNA last Self-organization: something for nothing? Chapter 6: The Cosmic Connection The stardust in your eyes Cosmic chemistry Genesis from space Impact The Sisyphus effect Chapter 7: Superbugs Some like it hot Life in the underworld Ascent from Hades Let them eat rock The rest is history Chapter 8: Mars: Red and Dead? A bad place for a vacation Flood The Martian greenhouse Was there life on Mars? Is there still life on Mars? Meteorites from Mars Traces of life? Killer plague from the red planet! Chapter 9: Panspermia Survival in space Did life come to Earth in a meteorite? Did Earthlife come from Mars? Did Earthlife go to Mars? Chapter 10: A Bio-Friendly Universe? Did life ever begin? Are the laws of nature rigged in favor of life? Is it Darwinism all the way down? A ladder of progress? Is mind predestined? Notes Index  

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684863092
Author:
Davies, Paul
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
Biology
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Life
Subject:
Origin
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Philosophy & Aspects
Subject:
Life -- Origin.
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
no. 1881
Publication Date:
20000331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
11 b/w line drawings
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.97 oz

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Related Subjects


Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Origin of Life
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Popular

The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684863092 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Are We Alone in the Universe?

In this provocative and far-reaching book, internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries — the origin of life.

Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life once existed on Mars, might it have originated there and traveled to earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts?

Davies builds on recent scientific discoveries and theories to address larger questions of existence: What, exactly, is life? Is it the inevitable by-product of physical laws, as many scientists maintain, or an almost miraculous accident? Are we alone in the universe, or will life emerge on all earthlike planets? And if there is life elsewhere in the universe, is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence?

Through his search for answers to these questions, Davies explores the ultimate mystery of mankind's existence — who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmos.

"Synopsis" by , An award-winning, bestselling author shows how recent and imminent scientific discoveries will transform the understanding of life's origins and raise the fundamental question: Are we alone in the universe? 11 drawings.
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