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Intelligent Life in the Universe: Principles and Requirements Behind Its Emergence [Hardcover]

Peter Ulmschneider
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Intelligent Life in the Universe: Principles and Requirements Behind Its Emergence Intelligent Life in the Universe: Principles and Requirements Behind Its Emergence 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

June 14 2004 3540439889 978-3540439882 1st ed. 2003. Corr. 2nd printing
This book addresses all scientists and others interested in the origins, development and fate of intelligent species in the observable part of our universe. In particular, the author scrutinizes what kind of information about extraterrestrial intelligent life can be inferred from our own biological, cultural and scientific evolution and the likely future of mankind. The first part of the book provides the necessary background information from space and life sciences, thus making the book also accessible to students and the scientifically educated public.

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Review

"[...] A more detailed and well-referenced approach is Intelligent Life in the Universe by Peter Ulmschneider. He concentrates on planet formation and the characteristics needed for the development of life, the timetable of evolution, and the effects on our planet and others of life becoming intelligent. A lecturer could build an intriguing general science module around this book." (New Scientist, March 22, 2003)

"New in this book is the argument that, by thinking carefully about the future development of mankind, one can gain insight into the nature of extraterrestrial civilizations. [...] An interesting book for what concerns the scientific chapters, and also the speculative part will definitely interest a great number of readers." (Physicalia, 25/4, 2003)

"It is hardly surprising that the area of astrobiology already has two mainstream journals and a steady series of textbooks ranging from introductory to highly specialist. It is to this latter genre, pleasingly situated in the mid-range of technical but understandable, that we welcome Peter Ulmschneider's intelligent and succinct contribution. [...] Whether or not one shares Ulmschneider's optimistic view of our future and place in the cosmic realm, he is to be congratulated both on producing an excellent synthesis but also touching on potential philosophial and ethic points which may well assume a degree of urgency sooner than any of us expected." (Simon Conway Morris, Geological Magazine 2005, 142, page 135-136)

From the Back Cover

This book addresses the possible origins, development and fate of intelligent life in the universe. The author presents a wide-ranging analysis of the type of knowldege that can be inferred about extraterrestial intelligent societies from our own biological, cultural and scientific evolution, and from the likely future of mankind. Providing extensive background information from astronomy, geology, chemistry and biology, the book will appeal to both the scientist and the general reader.

In this second edition of Peter Ulmschneider's successful and highly interesting book the author is putting even stronger emphasis on the geological conditions and consequences of life's conquest of land as the pre-condition for the emergence of life with our type of technical intelligence.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
"That I am mortal I know, and that my days are numbered, but when in my mind I follow the multiply entwined orbits of the stars, then my feet do no longer touch the Earth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, though technical and mathematical Nov. 4 2003
Format:Hardcover
In this densely written book, Heidelberg University professor Peter Ulmschneider covers a remarkably wide range of questions related to extraterrestrial life and intelligence, and does so with convincing authority. His work, part of Springer's Physics and Astronomy series, has the flavor of a university textbook, with numerous graphs, tables, and diagrams, and a few equations. Readers will need either a basic knowledge of science or a willingness to learn while reading.
Part I, about planets, discusses the origin of chemical elements, planet formation, the search for extrasolar planets, and planets suitable for life. Part II, about life, begins at the most basic level of organic chemistry, then moves on to a condensed discussion of biological evolution on Earth. A much briefer chapter provides a quick overview of the search for extraterrestrial life. Part III, on intelligence, takes an unusual approach by beginning with the future of Humankind, emphasizing human expansion into the solar system and possible threats to our survival. Ulmschneider argues that, by thinking about our own future development, we can gain insights into the nature of extraterrestrial intelligence. He concludes his book with a discussion of extraterrestrial intelligent life, briefly noting some of the proposed explanations for the Fermi Paradox.
This book is not for casual readers. Because it covers so much territory, the discussions are highly condensed. Nonetheless, Ulmschneider has done an impressvie job. The book includes some small but well-reproduced colored pictures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a complete picture of astrobiology June 3 2003
By Robin
Format:Hardcover
This book was so dense with information and so elegantly organized that I found it easier than most recreational reading I do these days. The author explains how one might answer what I consider to be the ultimate question: Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? The author refrains from pontificating his own opinion, but rather provides the background information necessary for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. The basics of planetary science, astrophysics, and biology are presented in the first section, followed by a description of the conditions in which life has evolved, and where elsewhere in the universe we might find such conditons. Part three (the section that I found to be the most fascinating) described the nature of intelligent life and the fate of humanity. As a student studying astrobiology, I found that this book did an amazing job of unifying many of the classes I have taken, and painted a very good picture of Astrobiology as a sigle subject. I would recommend the book to anyone intersted in astrobiology, space exploration, or the future of mankind. The material presented was sufficiently detailed for a student to gain insight, yet presented in such a simple manner that even the casual reader would walk away with and understanding of the contents.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a complete picture of astrobiology June 3 2003
By Robin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book was so dense with information and so elegantly organized that I found it easier than most recreational reading I do these days. The author explains how one might answer what I consider to be the ultimate question: Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? The author refrains from pontificating his own opinion, but rather provides the background information necessary for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. The basics of planetary science, astrophysics, and biology are presented in the first section, followed by a description of the conditions in which life has evolved, and where elsewhere in the universe we might find such conditons. Part three (the section that I found to be the most fascinating) described the nature of intelligent life and the fate of humanity. As a student studying astrobiology, I found that this book did an amazing job of unifying many of the classes I have taken, and painted a very good picture of Astrobiology as a sigle subject. I would recommend the book to anyone intersted in astrobiology, space exploration, or the future of mankind. The material presented was sufficiently detailed for a student to gain insight, yet presented in such a simple manner that even the casual reader would walk away with and understanding of the contents.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, though technical and mathematical Nov. 4 2003
By M. A Michaud - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this densely written book, Heidelberg University professor Peter Ulmschneider covers a remarkably wide range of questions related to extraterrestrial life and intelligence, and does so with convincing authority. His work, part of Springer's Physics and Astronomy series, has the flavor of a university textbook, with numerous graphs, tables, and diagrams, and a few equations. Readers will need either a basic knowledge of science or a willingness to learn while reading.
Part I, about planets, discusses the origin of chemical elements, planet formation, the search for extrasolar planets, and planets suitable for life. Part II, about life, begins at the most basic level of organic chemistry, then moves on to a condensed discussion of biological evolution on Earth. A much briefer chapter provides a quick overview of the search for extraterrestrial life. Part III, on intelligence, takes an unusual approach by beginning with the future of Humankind, emphasizing human expansion into the solar system and possible threats to our survival. Ulmschneider argues that, by thinking about our own future development, we can gain insights into the nature of extraterrestrial intelligence. He concludes his book with a discussion of extraterrestrial intelligent life, briefly noting some of the proposed explanations for the Fermi Paradox.
This book is not for casual readers. Because it covers so much territory, the discussions are highly condensed. Nonetheless, Ulmschneider has done an impressvie job. The book includes some small but well-reproduced colored pictures.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-organized and easy to read Oct. 7 2004
By Jill Malter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I truly enjoyed reading this book. It is carefully written, has an enormous amount of up-to-date information, and covers the subject reasonably well. Astrobiology is a relatively new subject, and this is one of the best books about it. I was very impressed by the amount of material Ulmschneider was able to cover in only 250 pages and how clearly he explained everything. He went through the origin of the chemical elements, planet formation, the threat of planetary migration, the search for extrasolar planets, planetary atmospheric instabilities, theories on the origin of life on Earth, the evolution of life, the threats to the Earth's environment from the existence of life (such as the Huronic glaciation), the search for extraterrestrial life, and much more. That included some speculative material, some of which I found dubious. But that does not detract from the overall value of this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I had been waiting for! Oct. 17 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am rarely emphatic about scientific books, but this one is different. A very dense and comprehensive treatment of the subject, extremely well structured and nothing missing from the index! I particularly like the clarity of the figures. Hardly a book for people without a scientific background, but if you do have the background, go for it: it's like a refresher course and an update for many things you learnt at university years ago, with lots of astronomy and biology, but too little geology! Altogether, a very enjoyable read.
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