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Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos Hardcover – April 1, 2013

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0500516713 ISBN-10: 0500516715 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Murdin’s enthusiasm is palpable throughout, and he manages to inform without boring knowledgeable readers or dumbing it down for lay folk.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A good summary of this intriguing topic. . . . Recommended.” (Choice)

About the Author

In 1971 Paul Murdin discovered the first black hole. He has been President of the European Astronomical Society, Director of the British National Space Centre, and Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has published some 150 scientific papers, edited the multivolume Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is the author of Secrets of the Universe.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500516715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500516713
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By O. R. Pagan on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Are We Being Watched? The Search for Life in the Cosmos - Paul Murdin

This is a rather interesting book but, what's not to like about astrobiology? If you know me, you know that astrobiology is one of my favorite science topics, and that's saying a lot! Anyway, Dr. Murdin's professional affiliation is Cambridge University's institute of Astronomy. He has published at least 10 other books and A LOT of other material, including scientific papers. He certainly knows what he is talking about. Normally, I would expect an author with such expertise to excel at her/his own area, while being so-so in others.

I was pleasantly surprised that was not the case for "Are we being watched?"

The book is very well-researched and lucidly written, yet a little (very, very little) dry in some parts. The physical science aspects related to the search for like elsewhere was pretty much pristine and thorough while the "life" part of the search for life elsewhere was somewhat lighter. In all fairness, there is not much to say about that at this point of the game. We just don't have any information whatsoever about life elsewhere; all we have are guesses with various degrees of education.

That said, I wouldn't have minded a little more shameless speculation, as per the title. Actually, the word "watched" and derived words appear only 4 or 5 times besides the title. I suppose that the idea for the title came from the editors for marketing purposes.

My favorite chapter was the chapter on Mars. I believe that this is one of the most complete, best-written chapters in any book on the topic that I have seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Drouganis on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed "Are we being watched?" although the title is a misnomer, I figured that was the case by just reading the blurb in the dust jacket.

I certainly was not hoping nor expecting wild conjecture by the author because I expected to read a scientifically accurate book on this very interesting topic. However, it could have had another chapter near the end of the book forming some speculations from what we know of our solar system and interpolating that into possible other, realistic types of systems outside of our own.

That said, I thought the thrust of the book was interesting and I would find this an excellent book for someone who wishes to learn about the bio-logical makeup of our solar system. If you already enjoy reading on this topic, you might not learn too much more, but will almost certainly enjoy this well written book. I've not yet read another book by Dr. Murdin but do plan on it.

Finally, I would like to talk about the physical book. This is a well constructed book, the paper is nice and heavy and there are about 30 beautiful color pictures to help the reader visualize the topics. So this book could prove to be an excellent gift to someone who loves reading scientific literature, or a book that will hold up on your shelf. I don't normally bring up the construction of the book but felt in this case it did deserve to be brought up.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was several hours very well spent. For me it involved equal opportunities to learn amazing things and to dabble in fascinating conjectures. How often do our brains have those rare feasts concurrently?!
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