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Written by an experienced brain research scientist, popular science author and lifelong dedicated amateur astronomer
Offers scientifically funded speculation on how alien life forms may develop neurobiological control systems that could be functionally analogous to those found in various animal species on Earth
Conveys the author's excitement in non-technical language about how things happen in our complex world and universe
This book explains why scientists believe that life may be more common in the Universe than previously considered possible. It presents the tools and strategies astronomers and astrobiologists are using in their formal search for habitable exoplanets as well as more advanced forms of life in other parts of our galaxy. The author then summarizes what is currently known about how and where organic molecules critical to our form of carbon-based life are manufactured. The core of the book explains (and presents educated guesses) how nervous systems evolved on Earth, how they work, and how they might work on other worlds. Combining his knowledge of neuroscience, computers, and astrobiology the author jumps into the discussion whether biological nervous systems are just the first step in the rise of intelligence in the Universe. The book ends with a description from both the psychologist’s and the neuroscientist’s viewpoints, exactly what it is about the fields of astrobiology and astronomy that “boggles the minds” of many amateur astronomers and interested non-scientists. This book stands out from other popular science books on astrobiology by making the point that “astro-neurobiologists” need to begin thinking about how alien nervous systems might work.
Content Level »Popular/general
Keywords »Alternative Brain Chemistries - Artificial or Mechanical “intelligence” - Evolution of Life on other Planets - Extraterrestrial Intelligence - Life Friendly Molecules in Outer Space - Mass Extinctions of Life on Earth - Nervous System Evolution in Animals - Non carbon-based Life Forms - Searching for Exoplanets in the Milky Way - Simulating Brain Function - Threats to Evolution of Life