All humans share three origins: the beginning of our individual lives, the appearance of life on Earth, and the formation of our planetary home. Life through Time and Space brings together the latest discoveries in both biology and astronomy to examine our deepest questions about where we came from, where we are going, and whether we are alone in the cosmos.
A distinctive voice in the growing field of astrobiology, Wallace Arthur combines embryological, evolutionary, and cosmological perspectives to tell the story of life on Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere in the universe. He guides us on a journey through the myriad events that started with the big bang and led to the universe we inhabit today. Along the way, readers learn about the evolution of life from a primordial soup of organic molecules to complex plants and animals, about Earth’s geological transformation from barren rock to diverse ecosystems, and about human development from embryo to infant to adult. Arthur looks closely at the history of mass extinctions and the prospects for humanity’s future on our precious planet.
Do intelligent aliens exist on a distant planet in the Milky Way, sharing the three origins that characterize all life on Earth? In addressing this question, Life through Time and Space tackles the many riddles of our place and fate in the universe that have intrigued human beings since they first gazed in wonder at the nighttime sky.
Arthur writes clearly about many complex and varied subjects, and his enthusiasm for the material shows.
I can recommend this book without reservation. It contains an authoritative and fascinating account of evolution on Earth and, perhaps, further afield. Brilliant and thought-provoking in every way.
Science, as Wallace Arthur shows us in this delightful and blessedly jargon-free book, reveals to us things as they are, for what they are. Offering astronomical and biological perspectives on origins, life cycles, structure and function, and endings, Arthur shows that human existence is only one tiny, temporary strand in the endless weave of reality.
Arthur takes the reader on a breathtaking journey through time and space, astronomy and biology. What a delightfully written and intellectually stimulating book.
A farsighted, original, and thought-provoking trip through the evolution of life and the universe.
In an imaginative and highly enjoyable journey from atoms to galaxies, Wallace Arthur explores commonalities in cosmology, embryology, and evolution.
What a lovely book. Its scope is very ambitious—it brings together several different fields and perspectives that are all equally fascinating. And it deals with them in an intertwined way, moving from Earthly creatures to dying stars to alien life with a fluid curiosity that is infectious.
[Arthur] has a refreshingly jargon-free approach to science writing…The book tackles some immense scientific questions that are beyond our current capability to answer and, despite their complexity, gives the reader a framework to understand and contemplate their significance…Life through Time and Space takes the reader on a journey through the furthest regions of the universe, but ends with an introverted look at our own species.
For those of you curious about how a respected scientist whose specialty is in zoology (and evo-devo) might view life on our planet, Arthur’s perspective is an intriguing treat, giving us a new spin on an old cosmic tale, with novel details emphasized over what you might have heard before.
Life through Time and Space is an interesting look at an overwhelming subject…[Arthur's] treatment of the stages of formation and ultimately life as we know it is well done and intriguing. It would be difficult to find a more thorough, thought-provoking exercise…Arthur does a remarkable job of describing ‘evo-devo’ and eventually offers some predictions about the future of humans and species extinction.
- 296 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
- Illustrated by Stephen Arthur
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