The Biological Universe
Life in the Milky Way and Beyond
Author(s): Wallace Arthur
Publication Date: 24-09-2020
Are we alone in the universe, or are there other life forms 'out there'? This is one of the most scientifically and philosophically important questions that humanity can ask. Now, in the early 2020s, we are tantalizingly close to an answer. As this book shows, the answer will almost certainly be that life forms are to be found across the Milky Way and beyond. They will be thinly spread, to be sure. Yet the number of inhabited planets probably runs into the trillions. Some are close enough for us to detect evidence of life by analysing their atmospheres. This evidence may be found within a couple of decades. Its arrival will be momentous. But even before it arrives we can anticipate what life elsewhere will be like by examining the ecology and evolution of life on Earth. This book considers the current state of play in relation to these titanic issues.
'In this thought-provoking book, Arthur's deep knowledge of life and its myriad manifestations, coupled with a cosmologist's understanding of the cosmos at large, enables him to explore one of science's greatest mysteries - how the biological and physical universes relate to one another. Does life exist beyond this planet? What form would it take? How could we detect it? Arthur musters fact, logic, and intuition, in his far-reaching attempt to nail down life's place within the wider cosmic dimension.'
Addy Pross, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel