In Humble before the Void, Chris, a noted astronomer, educator, and author gives us a thor­oughly absorbing and engaging account of his journey to Northern India to teach in the first-ever “Science for Monks” leadership program. The pro­gram was initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to introduce science into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic tradition.

In a vivid and compelling narrative, Chris intro­duces us to a group of exiled Tibetan monks whose charm, tenacity and unbridled enthusiasm for learning is infectious. Chris marvels not only at their enthusiasm, but at their tireless diligence that allows the monks to painstakingly build intri­cate sand mandalas—that can be swept away in an instant. He observes them as they meticulously count galaxies and notes how their enthusiasm and diligence stands in contrast to many American students who are frequently turned off by sci­ence’s inability to deliver easy, immediate payoffs. Because the Buddhist monks have had a limited science education, Impey must devise creative pedagogy. His new students immediately take to his inspired teaching methods, whether it’s the use of balloons to demonstrate the Hubble expansion or donning an Einstein mask to explain the theory of relativity.

“This book will provide readers with a greater awareness of the spirit of curiosity and inquiry that lies at the heart of the Buddhist tradition, as well as the fruitfulness of maintaining active communication between the Buddhist and scientific commu­nities.” —from the Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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McEvoy is a truth-seeker. He has moments when he sees through the surface sheen of the world to a deeper reality, and moments when his sense of self dissolves. The Scotsman is restless, a wanderer. He flings himself into new relationships, even as he flees family secrets. In Shadow World, we see through McEvoy’s eyes as he grows from boisterous youth to a man defined equally by darkness and light. We meet his demons and his lovers. His adventure unfolds like beads on a string, with each episode separate yet connected. His journey takes him from the Arizona desert to the wilds of Patagonia, from the Silk Road in China to the lush countryside of Ireland, ending in a twilight zone near the Arctic Circle.

Shadow World is a first novel by noted popular science writer Chris Impey. Shadow World inhabits the boundary between narrative fiction and science fiction. It explores the tension between artifacts and natural forms, between reality and illusion, between the science that is and the science that might be.

The novel is filled with intriguing characters. We meet a death camp survivor for whom music is everything, a relentless archeologist who is rewriting the story of human civilization, a mercurial sculptor who has a personality that mirrors her art, identical twins who inhabit parallel worlds of science and religion, a brilliant but raunchy astrophysicist, and an enigmatic philosopher who seems to know McEvoy better than he knows himself. By the end of his 20-year odyssey, McEvoy has gained a startling insight into his reality, and perhaps ours as well.

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Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of 11 iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it.

The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini's ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn. The Stardust probe's dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA's great observatories—Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble—and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation.

Dreams of Other Worlds reveals how these unmanned exploratory missions have redefined what it means to be the temporary tenants of a small planet in a vast cosmos.

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Astrobiology is an exciting interdisciplinary field that seeks to answer one of the most important and profound questions: are we alone? In this volume, leading international experts explore the frontiers of astrobiology, investigating the latest research questions that will fascinate a wide interdisciplinary audience at all levels. What is the earliest evidence for life on Earth? Where are the most likely sites for life in the solar system? Could life have evolved elsewhere in the galaxy? What are the best strategies for detecting intelligent extraterrestrial life? How many habitable or Earth-like exoplanets are there? Progress in astrobiology over the past decade has been rapid and, with evidence accumulating that Mars once hosted standing bodies of liquid water, the discovery of over 500 exoplanets, and new insights into how life began on Earth, the scientific search for our origins and place in the cosmos continues.

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Are we alone in the universe? Are the planets our playground to treat as we will, or do we have a responsibility to other creatures who may inhabit or use them? Do we have a right to dump trash in space or leave vehicles on Mars or the moon?  How should we interact with other life forms?

Encountering Life in the Universe examines the intersection of scientific research and society to further explore the ethics of how to behave in a universe where much is unknown. Taking contributions from notable experts in several fields, the editors skillfully introduce and develop a broad look at the moral questions facing humans on Earth and beyond.

Major advances in biology, biotechnology, and medicine create an urgency to ethical considerations in those fields. Astrobiology goes on to debate how we might behave as we explore new worlds, or create new life in the laboratory, or interact with extraterrestrial life forms. Stimulated by new technologies for scientific exploration on and off the Earth, astrobiology is establishing itself as a distinct scientific endeavor.

In what way can established philosophies provide guidance for the new frontiers opened by astrobiology research? Can the foundations of ethics and moral philosophy help answer questions about modifying other planets? Or about how to conduct experiments to create life in the lab or about? How to interact with organisms we might discover on another world?

While we wait for the first echo that might indicate life beyond Earth, astrobiologists, along with philosophers, theologians, artists, and the general public, are exploring how we might behave—even before we know for sure they are there. Encountering Life in the Universe is a remarkable resource for such philosophical challenges.

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With more than 500 planets now known to exist beyond the solar system, spacecraft heading for Mars, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, this timely book explores current ideas about the search for life in the universe. It contains candid interviews with dozens of astronomers, geologists, biologists, and writers about the origin and range of terrestrial life and likely sites for life beyond Earth. The interviewees discuss what we've learnt from the missions to Mars and Titan, talk about the search for Earth clones, describe the surprising diversity of life on Earth, speculate about post-biological evolution, and explore what contact with intelligent aliens will mean to us. Covering topics from astronomy and planetary science to geology and biology, this book will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered “Are we alone?”

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Considering the development of life on Earth, the existence of life in extreme environments and the potential for life elsewhere in the universe, this book gives a fascinating insight into our place in the universe. Chris leads the reader through the history, from the Copernican revolution to the emergence of the field of astrobiology—the study of life in the cosmos. He examines how life on Earth began, exploring its incredible variety and the extreme environments in which it can survive. Finally, Chris turns his attention to our solar system and the planets beyond, discussing whether there may be life elsewhere in the universe. Written in nontechnical language, this book is ideal for anyone wanting to know more about astrobiology and how it is changing our views of life and the universe.

 

 

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How It Ends is about the fascinating science behind the eventual end to everything—from the individual to all existence.

Although we may try to keep it tucked at the back of our minds, most of us are aware of our own mortality. But few among us know what science, with the help of insights yielded from groundbreaking new research, has to say about death on a larger scale. Enter Chris, who chronicles the death of the whole shebang: individual, species, biosphere, earth, sun, Milky Way, and, finally, the entire universe.

With a healthy dose of humor, How It Ends illuminates everything from the technologies of human life extension and the evolutionary arms race between microbes and men to the inescapable dimming of the sun and the ultimate “big rip,” giving us a rare glimpse into a universe without us.

 

 

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How It Began is a majestic account of the most fascinating phenomena in our universe—and the science behind them.

In this vibrant, eye-opening tour of milestones in the history of our universe, Chris guides us through space and time, leading us from the familiar sights of the night sky to the dazzlingly strange aftermath of the big bang.

What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Chris uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Chris brilliantly describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe.

The milestones on this journey range from the nearby to the remote: We travel from the moon, Jupiter, and the black hole at the heart of our galaxy all the way to the first star, the first ray of light, and even the strange, roiling conditions of the infant universe, an intense and volatile environment in which matter was created from pure energy. Chris gives us breathtaking visual descriptions and also explains what each landmark can reveal about the universe and its history. His lucid, wonderfully engaging scientific discussions bring us to the brink of modern cosmology and physics, illuminating such mind-bending concepts as invisible dimensions, timelessness, and multiple universes.

A dynamic and unforgettable portrait of the cosmos, How It Began will reward its readers with a deeper understanding of the universe we inhabit as well as a renewed sense of wonder at its beauty and mystery.

 

 

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