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Astronomers' Universe

The Nature of Life and Its Potential to Survive

Authors: Stevenson, David S.

  • Presents a unique view of life as an evolutionary process based on some fundamental, universal laws that govern chemistry, biology, and other sciences
  • Clarifies some of the ideas with examples and illustrations 
  • Informs and enlightens those readers who are eager to explore current topics in astronomy and astrobiology but may not have technical knowledge or interest in mathematics 
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eBook $34.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-52911-0
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $44.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-52910-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book looks at the persistence of life and how difficult it would be to annihilate life, especially a species as successful as humanity. The idea that life in general is fragile is challenged by the hardiness of microbes, which shows that astrobiology on exoplanets and other satellites must be robust and plentiful. Microbes have adapted to virtually every niche on the planet, from the deep, hot biosphere, to the frigid heights of the upper troposphere. 

Life, it seems, is almost indestructible. The chapters in this work examine the various scenarios that might lead to the extermination of life, and why they will almost always fail. Life's highly adaptive nature ensures that it will cling on no matter how difficult the circumstances. 


Scientists are increasingly probing and questioning life's true limits in, on and above the Earth, and how these limits could be pushed elsewhere in the universe. This investigation puts life in its true astronomical context, with the reader taken on a journey to illustrate life's potential and perseverance. 

About the authors

David Stevenson was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1968. He studied Molecular Biology at Glasgow University and obtained a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge.  He then studied Astronomy and Planetary Sciences and Geophysics and Geochemistry (S267) at the OU.

 

After a stint in academia, he became a teacher, but continued to write science articles for various publications. In July 2007 an article on Type Ia Supernovae, “A Bigger Bang”, was published in Sky & Telescope, with a second article on supernovae published in the same magazine in October 2011. Three books have followed on supernovae, red dwarf stars and star clusters (Extreme Explosions, Under a Crimson Sun and The Complex Life of Star Clusters, respectively). A further article on stellar mergers is at the production stages with Astronomy magazine, while a spin-off article from Extreme Explosions, “Supersized Stellar Mystery”, was published in Popular Astronomy in February 2014. Despite a background in Biology, the author’s father inspired his interest in Astronomy from an early age. Many parallels can be drawn between the lives of people and those of stars. Exploring the cross-roads of different scientific disciplines is a key interest and motivation in both teaching and writing.

 

His publishing history includes peer-reviewed biological research articles from 1999-2009, including one on the early development of life, “The Origin of Translation” published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology (Elsevier Press) and an article on the discovery of antibiotic resistance genes in plants, published in Plant Physiology; numerous articles published on the Blackwell Plant Sciences website 2002-2007; “Turning out the Lights” – Popular Astronomy August, 2003; “A Bigger Bang” Sky & Telescope, July 2007; “Exceptional Explosions”, Sky & Telescope, October 2011; “Extreme Explosions” and “Under a Crimson Sun” books, Springer 2013; "Supersized Stellar Mystery", Popular Astronomy, January 2014; "The Complex Life of Star Clusters", Springer, May 2015; and “Stellar Mergers” in production with Astronomy magazine, [due July 2016;]  "The Exo-weather Report", Springer, is due in Summer 2016.

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $34.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-52911-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $44.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-52910-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Nature of Life and Its Potential to Survive
Authors
Series Title
Astronomers' Universe
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-52911-0
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-52911-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-52910-3
Series ISSN
1614-659X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 456
Number of Illustrations and Tables
1 b/w illustrations, 69 illustrations in colour
Topics