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Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future With a New afterword by the author Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the 2010 US Review of Books's Eric Hoffer Book Award in Culture
Winner of the 2009 Silver Nautilus Book Awards in Cosmology/New Science
Finalist for the 2008 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award, American Astronautical Society
"In cogent and entertaining language, astrophysicist and popular writer Bennett explains that the determining factor in whether we can locate intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is whether such a civilization--and our own--can continue long enough to develop the highly sophisticated technology needed for interstellar travel...Bennett does a wonderful job of explaining the conditions necessary for simple life, how we might discern its existence and where we should be looking. He then does the same thing for intelligent life. While he is fair to those who believe life is incredibly rare, he makes a compelling case that life is likely to be abundant."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover' (or, in this case, its title) certainly applies here. While one might expect a book of science fiction, Bennett presents this awe-inspiring topic in a scientifically accurate but personal way. I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading a creative summary of the status of the search for life elsewhere in the universe and would hope that it might provide a starting point to inspire the next generation of astronomers and astrobiologists."--Lisa Jardine-Wright, Times Higher Education
"[Jeffrey Bennett] has taken a break from the treadmill of updating his textbook and has written a popular book instead, bringing the rest of us up to date on our extraordinary new and expanded universe--and on who else might live in it . . . Beyond UFOs is crammed with neat analogies, startling imagery and mind-blowing illustrations of astronomical concepts. If you want to understand the universe and our place in it, you will not find a better primer. The first diagram alone--which shows how Earth's 10,000-kilometre span of real estate fits into a supercluster of galaxies a billion trillion kilometers across--bear a good 10 minutes of study. This truth is astonishing, and humbling--and Beyond UFOs is a great place to find it."--Michael Brooks, New Scientist
"Planet by planet, moon by moon, [Beyond UFOs] explores the possibility of life elsewhere in this solar system. It then speculates about other solar systems in our galaxy where, according to the prevailing scientific view, simple life almost surely exists and intelligent life is plausible. For the most part, Bennett's search for extraterrestrial life adds up to a very satisfying package. . . . At its core, this book delivers a combination that is hard to beat: solid yet highly speculative science plus accessible prose that add up to an out-of-this-world reading experience."--Fred Bortz, Seattle Times
"Bennett walks us through the daunting calculations that lead to the conclusion that the existence of life elsewhere is not only possible, but highly likely. But as we wonder where else life exists and what forms it might take, scientists are forced back to more fundamental questions. What is the nature of life itself? Will we know it if we see it?...Bennett offers a host of lessons here not only about global warming and environmental degradation, but our place in the universe as well."--Matthew Battles, The Boston Globe
"This exploration of potential alien life is a timely work, just as the steadily increasing discoveries of extra-solar planets makes the possibility of finding alien life more plausible. . . . [Beyond UFOs] is a fully rounded examination of the subject, accessible to all. I guarantee that after reading this book you will be watching space probe results that much more closely. And maybe, you will be watching the skies too!"--Steve Ringwood, Astronomy Now
"This is a highly readable and enjoyable book that centers on astrobiology--a discipline that melds astronomy, biology, geology--and a little bit of luck--to explore the prospect of life on other worlds. . . . Bennett is an excellent writer, taking the reader on an exploration quest to find alien life, and how difficult solar system sleuthing can be, such as on Mars, Jupiter's Europa, or on Saturn's Titan. You'll also find an excellent treatment on current activities surrounding the on-going search for extraterrestrial intelligence."--The Coalition for Space Exploration
"Particularly enjoyable is the down-to-earth writing; Bennett, an astrophysicist, author, and educator, tells the reader exactly how he feels about various topics (even the role of God in the scheme of things). Readers may not agree with everything he says, but he does offer food for thought."--B.R. Parker, Choice
"Beyond UFOs gives a good impression from the moment you first take it into your hands. It is attractively produced, well written, and very thoroughly proofread. It's an interesting and challenging complement to focused research, and will be particularly enjoyed by anyone who has an appetite for broad science tinged with morals."--Elizabeth Griffin, The Observatory
"Beyond UFOs is a rich, slow, and rewarding read. Rich because it is full of some of the most interesting current interdisciplinary science regarding planets and life that you can find, blending astronomy, geology, history, and astrobiology in a single narrative. Slow because each page is so full of interesting content that you don't want to skim. Rewarding because Bennett is simply a fantastic writer and presenter, making the read thoroughly enjoyable. No science expertise required."--Jennifer Wiseman, Books & Culture
Top Customer Reviews
Bennett does an excellent job explaining the process of science and the development of scientific ideas starting with ancient ideas about the universe and how scientific though has progressed (in fits and starts) to the current day. He also explains how scientific thought and religious beliefs can coexist and do not inherently contradict each other.
The book continues by examining the question of "What is Life" and the process of getting life started. After looking at the requirements of life on a planetary and star system scale, the book looks at the possibility of life throughout the solar system and then beyond. Bennett looks at the probability of extraterrestrial intelligence arising an asking the question: "... If civilizations really are as common as it seems they ought to be, shouldn't we by now have some real evidence for their existence?" Finally, Bennett looks at the social and cultural changes that we could possibly face if we learn of intelligent life in the universe.
This book is easy and enjoyable, and I recommend it for anyone who has an interest in astronomy, UFOs, or science. Even non-scientists would find it interesting.
Though a scientist, teacher and bestselling textbook author (The Cosmic Perspective, the nation's top introductory astronomy textbook, is also his work), his tone here is conversational, that of a favorite uncle describing something about which he wants you to share his excitement -- in this case the idea that life teems throughout the cosmos. With as many stars in the universe as there are grains of sand on all the world's beaches, who's to argue with him?
The more of this book I read, the more I felt it should be required reading. A quick stop by the book's Web site ([...]) shows that it already is. In 2008, Miami of Ohio made it their pick for their Summer Reading Program for 3,700 incoming freshmen. Miami made a wise choice. This book, in addition to being a great read, will change -- I think for the better -- the way you think about creation and your role in it.
Jeffrey Bennett is a good writer. I am certain this cannot be said of many astrobiologists or physicists. His writing style makes this an easy read. As with any good non-fiction book I learned more than I expected to. Jeffrey does a great job of explaining what it means to answer the question "are we alone?" To answer that question we must determine not only how to define life, but also how life begins. It all comes down to identifying planets that have the potential to host life.
Like most novice space enthusiasts I want to know the answers without the discipline of years of study. Of course, yes, I know this is silly; that it takes years of study to truly understand what we seek. Jeffrey Bennett does a great job of providing a window into what he has learned; what it truly means to be on a quest to answer what is perhaps our most difficult question as a human race.
If you want to go beyond the stereotypical UFO hunter - learn what it means to answer the question "are we alone" - then I recommend you start with this book. You may not get the answers you want, or maybe you will, but what you do get is what it means to be searching for those answers.
With ease and great clarity, Dr. Bennett explains seemingly complex subjects such as human and Universal evolution, the possibility of life on this and other planets, exactly what conditions must be met in order for life to both form and be sustainable, the probability of life existing in our solar system, our Milky Way Galaxy and throughout the Universe and boils them all down to its most simplest and basic fundamentals.
As with all of his books and textbooks, Dr. Bennett assumes no prior scientific knowledge on the part of the reader. He very thoroughly and eloquently explains everything in a very clear and concise step by step manner that eliminates any confusion on the part of the reader. Personally, I went in to this book thinking it would be all about aliens. Much to my pleasant surprise, Dr. Bennett really saves that portion for Chapters 9 and 10, his last 2 chapters in the book. He takes the first 8 chapters of his book on a wonderful and enlightening journey about the history of science and the most influential scientists, the history of our planet and solar system, our galaxy and the entire Universe.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is another book I ordered for a family member, and she is wanting to read anything written by him. It has been a pleasure ordering his books for her as a gift.Published on May 22, 2014 by L. Ward
It is distressing to think that ideas similar to those presented in "Beyond UFOS" are being taught to children. Read morePublished on January 9, 2013 by Ron Piekaar
While the title, "Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future," offers a provocative tease about visitations by aliens from... Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by Roger D. Launius
Mr. Bennett provides the reader with an engaging insight into the mysteries of the universe that is clear to all readers. The reader will love it and ask for more. Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by Mark S. Levy
A readable and interesting explanation of the biophysics aspect of astronomy for the non-specialist. It was way "Beyond UFO's", which I thought was a slightly misleading title.Published on May 21, 2010 by Reader
I liked this bok a lot. It was a good review of science I had studied and for which I know needed an update. I first picked it up becuase it had "UFO" in the title. Read morePublished on October 13, 2008 by Melanie Joy
With much speculation and lots of generally known scientific facts. The factual information is generally known and accessible to anyone who has had a minimum of formal scientific... Read morePublished on August 24, 2008 by E. Mansfield
This book is very scientific in it's approach to the topic. I learned a lot of interesting facts about other worlds, the universe and biology. Very well written. Great book!Published on July 18, 2008 by T. L. Chartier