Topics: Solar System, Earth, Universe Pages: 2 (687 words) Published: March 16, 2014
Talking About Life: Conversations on Astrobiology is a book of interviews between astronomer Chris Impey and leading researchers in the effort to understand life on Earth and discover habitable worlds and biology beyond Earth. The book is a snapshot of a fast-moving interdisciplinary field, with a conversational tone, where researchers describe what they do in their own words and convey the excitement of addressing fundamental questions about the universe. The first section has a range of perspectives on the general topic of life in the universe. Timothy Ferris, noted writer and journalist, talks about being involved in the planning for the Voyager record and on astrobiology in the popular culture.[1] Steven Dick [2] and Iris Fry talk about the history of the search for life in the universe and the history of theories of the origin of life on Earth, respectively. Ann Druyan discusses her long association with Carl Sagan and her work in science education.[3] Neil Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, talks about our halting progress in space travel and the prospects for venturing to find life among the stars.[4] George “Pinky” Nelson gives an astronaut’s perspective on life on Earth and elsewhere,[5] and Steve Benner[6] and William Bains[7] speculate on altering the architecture of life on Earth and on how strange life beyond Earth may be. The second section of the book turns to the history of life on Earth. Roger Buick talks about the earliest evidence for biology and John Baross talks about its possible origin on the sea floor.[8] Lynn Rothschild talks about extremophiles and the extraordinary modes of adaptation of terrestrial organisms.[9] Joe Kirschvink presents the evidence for Snowball Earth and the challenges that a restless planet presents for biology.[10] Andrew Knoll[11] and Simon Conway Morris[12] discuss natural selection and the contrasting themes of contingency and convergence. As two examples of "alien" intelligence on Earth, Roger Hanlon...
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