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6 Local Warehouse Science Reference- General

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The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat

by

The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The story of carbon—the building block of life that is, ironically, humanitys great threat .

It could be said that all of us are a little alien—our bodies carbon atoms first shot forth from supernovas billions of years ago and far, far away. Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect and chemical scaffolding of life and civilization; indeed, all living things draw carbon from their environments to stay alive, and the great cycle by which carbon moves through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere has long been a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. And yet, when we hear the word today, it is more often than not in a crisis context: carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle; chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet; the volatile Middle East explodes atop its stores of volatile hydrocarbons; carbohydrates threaten obesity and diabetes.

In The Carbon Age, Eric Roston evokes this essential element, its journey illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization. Charting the science of carbon—how it was formed, how it came to Earth and built up—he chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used it over centuries, and the growing catastrophe of the industrial era, leading us to now attempt to wrestle the Earths geochemical cycle back from the brink. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston makes us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has, and has had, on our lives.

Eric Roston covered technology, international trade, and energy issues at Time magazine for six years and contributed to Times special issue about September 11, which won a National Magazine Award in 2002. This is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.
It could be said that all of us are a little alien—our bodies carbon atoms first shot forth from supernovas billions of years ago and far, far away. Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect and chemical scaffolding of life and civilization; indeed, all living things draw carbon from their environments to stay alive, and the great cycle by which carbon moves through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere has long been a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. And yet, when we hear the word today, it is more often than not in a crisis context: carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle; chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet; the volatile Middle East explodes atop its stores of volatile hydrocarbons; carbohydrates threaten obesity and diabetes.

In The Carbon Age, Eric Roston evokes this essential element, its journey illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization. Charting the science of carbon—how it was formed, how it came to Earth and built up—he chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used it over centuries, and the growing catastrophe of the industrial era, leading us to now attempt to wrestle the Earths geochemical cycle back from the brink. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston makes us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has, and has had, on our lives.

"This elegant volume takes readers on a grand tour of carbons role in the universe, from the elements star-crossed birth billions of years ago to its role in the fossil-fuel industry and global warming."—Time Magazine

"This elegant volume takes readers on a grand tour of carbons role in the universe, from the elements star-crossed birth billions of years ago to its role in the fossil-fuel industry and global warming."—Time Magazine

“The story of carbon is our story, of course. It's an exciting journey—from cyanobacteria through the old and new gingko tree, to the intellectual wonder of organic synthesis, and our dangerous romance with the internal combustion engine.”—Roald Hoffmann, Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters at Cornell University and 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

“In order to understand the issue of climate change—or, for that matter, almost any issue relating to energy and life—its necessary to understand carbon. Fortunately, its an absolutely fascinating element, as Eric Roston shows in this delightful book. His narrative is a wonderful way to relish some basic science as well as understand some of the most profound policy issues we face.”—Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of Einstein: His Life and Universe

“With delightful verve and zest, Roston explores the awesomely cornucopian roles of carbon, ranging from cosmic to cellular, from climate to cancer. He also makes a compelling case that human destiny and carbon are now inextricably coupled.”—Dudley Herschbach, 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

“If you thought oxygen was important, wait till you read this brilliantly researched tale of carbon, the element that makes possible diamonds, the ‘lead in your pencil, even ‘you— and the element that is likely to occupy many headlines in the years ahead because we cant live without it and we may not be able to live with it.”—Norm Augustine, former chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and chairman of the study, Rising Above the Gathering Storm

“Carbon, the citizen king of elements, governs who we are and what life is—but the king is going mad! Citizens, revolt against the despots, or all may be lost!”—James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

“A most accessible and thoroughly enjoyable way to gain real insight into a series of profoundly important subjects including, notably, the hellish risks we now face with climate change. I liked this book and plan to read it again.”—James Gustave Speth, dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World

“Eric Roston provides an unparalleled tour of carbons role in life. This is a journey that every reader will find surprising and thoroughly enjoyable."—Richard A. Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science

“With this book, Roston, a former technology reporter for Time magazine, gives readers a substantial context to the sound bytes concerning climate change-the carbon cycle, the carbon footprint, carbon emissions, global warming-that are flung at us with little explanation. The first half traces carbon's history from the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, and the nucleosynthesis (the formation of the elements) through the life cycle of stars, and then covers the development of life and dynamics of the ‘natural carbon cycle of Earth. The second section spans the last 150 years and delves into the impact of humans on the climate in creating what Roston calls the ‘industrial carbon cycle. Without using a great deal of scientific jargon, Roston leads us patiently and clearly through this complex issue.”—Margaret F. Dominy, Library Journal

“Carbon neutral it isn't.”—Fred Pearce, New Scientist

"Eric Roston's wonderful book, The Carbon Age, makes it clear that we have had a gap in popular writing about energy, climate, and the beauty of science. The imperatives before us to reduce carbon emissions and think scientifically about our world are clearer than ever before." —Dr. David Suzuki

“A convincing argument that the earth is at a crossroad, the time for denial has passed and the time for smart, innovative solutions has arrived.”—Publishers Weekly

A high-level entry in the single-element history genre....Lucid and occasionally disturbing."—Kirkus Reviews

 

Synopsis:

The story of carbon—the building block of life that, ironically, is humanitys great threat.

Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect of life: Indeed, all living things need it to stay alive, and carbon cycles through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere in a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. Yet, since the start of the industrial era, carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle, and chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet. In The Carbon Age, science writer Eric Roston evokes this essential element, illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization, and chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used carbon over centuries. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston charts how we reached the brink of catastrophe, making us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has on our lives.

About the Author

Eric Roston covered technology, international trade, and energy issues at Time magazine for six years. This is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802715579
Subtitle:
How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat
Author:
Roston, Eric
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)
Subject:
Life Sciences - Ecology
Subject:
Chemistry - Organic
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090526
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW Illustrations throughout
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in
Age Level:
How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's

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Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Energy
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat Sale Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802715579 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The story of carbon—the building block of life that, ironically, is humanitys great threat.

Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect of life: Indeed, all living things need it to stay alive, and carbon cycles through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere in a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. Yet, since the start of the industrial era, carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle, and chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet. In The Carbon Age, science writer Eric Roston evokes this essential element, illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization, and chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used carbon over centuries. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston charts how we reached the brink of catastrophe, making us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has on our lives.

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