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Astrobiology of Earth: The Emergence, Evolution and Future of Life on a Planet in Turmoil


Astrobiology of Earth: The Emergence, Evolution and Future of Life on a Planet in Turmoil Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The study of life in our universe has been given the name 'astrobiology'. It is a relatively new subject, but not a new discipline since it brings together several mature fields of science including astronomy, geology, biology, and climatology. An understanding of the singular conditions that allowed the only example of life that we know exists to emerge and survive on our turbulent planet is essential if we are to seek answers to two fundamental questions facing humanity: will life (and especially human life) continue on Earth, and does life exist elsewhere in the universe?

Astrobiology of Earth adopts a unique approach that differs from most texts in the field which focus on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In contrast, the central theme of this book is the fortuitous combination of numerous cosmic factors that together produced the special environment which enabled the emergence, persistence and evolution of life on our own planet, culminating in humanity. This environment has been subject to constant and chaotic change during life's 3.6 billion year history. The geologically very recent appearance of humans and their effect on the biosphere is discussed in relation to its deterioration as well as climate change. The search for extraterrestrial life is considered with a view to the suggestion that humans may escape a depleted Earth by colonizing the universe.

This book contributes to our understanding of astrobiology from the perspective of life on Earth and especially human welfare and survival. Astronomical and geological phenomena are related in turn to their biological relevance and impact. This introductory text assumes little or no prior knowledge of more specialized scientific fields and is designed for undergraduate and graduate level students taking related courses in departments of biology, earth science/geology, and environmental science. It will also serve as a useful biology primer for astronomy majors.

About the Author

Joseph Gale was born in London, UK but immigrated to Israel in 1948. He studied at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and then completed his advanced studies at the University of California and the University of Michigan, USA. He was a visiting professor at McGill University in Canada and the Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel. At BGU he headed a research department and served as Institute Director and head of the International Center. His environmental expertise and experience in military and commercial aviation led to participation in a NASA project for Controlled Environment Life Support Systems for space flight. He has published more than one hundred refereed papers and co-edited/authored two books. Presently he is Professor Emeritus at Hebrew University where he teaches a course on the Astrobiology of Planet Earth.

Product Details

Gale, Joseph
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Joseph
Life Sciences - Evolution
Earth Sciences - Geology
Environmental Science
Astronomy - General
Life Sciences - Biology - General
Earth Sciences - General
Life -- Origin.
Life Sciences | Evolutionary Biology
Edition Description:
Oxford Biology
Series Volume:
The Emergence, Evolu
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
25 line and 25 halftone illus.
6.4 x 9.3 x 0.5 in 1.1 lb

Related Subjects

Education » Writing
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Earth Sciences
Science and Mathematics » Physics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Astrophysics

Astrobiology of Earth: The Emergence, Evolution and Future of Life on a Planet in Turmoil New Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199205813 Reviews:
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