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The Possibility of Life

Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos

Jaime Green

Hardcover

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Description

A dazzling cultural and scientific exploration of alien life and the cosmos, examining how the possibility of life on other planets shapes our understanding of humanity, for fans of Leslie Jamison, Carl Zimmer and Carlo Rovelli.

One of the most powerful questions humans ask about the cosmos is: Are we alone? Yet this very question is inevitably reduced to yes or no, to odds and probabilities that posit answers through complex physics. The science is fascinating, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection of our values and aspirations, our fears and anxieties, and most importantly, our enduring sense of hope.

In The Possibility of Life, acclaimed science journalist Jaime Green traces the history of our understanding, from the days of Galileo and Copernicus up through to our contemporary quest for exoplanets in the "Goldilocks zone," where life akin to ours on Earth might exist. Along the way, she interweaves insights from a long-standing tradition of science fiction writers who use the power of imagination to extrapolate and construct worlds that in turn inspire scientists.

Weaving in expert interviews, cutting-edge astronomy research, philosophical inquiry and pop culture touchstones ranging from A Wrinkle in Time to Star Trek to Avatar, The Possibility of Life explores our evolving conception of the cosmos to ask and even deeper question: What does it mean to be human?

Hanover Square Press, 9781335463548, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 18, 2023