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Cosmic Company: The Search for Life in the Universe Hardcover – November 24, 2003

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521822336 ISBN-10: 1408515210 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"... ponders the posibility of aliens visiting Earth. What would it mean, in the first place, if we were to detect a signal from the cosmos that would prove we're neither alone nor the smartest creatures in the universe?" Astronomy

Book Description

Cosmic Company ponders the possibility of aliens visiting the Earth, as well as what it would mean if we were to pick up a signal from the cosmos that would prove we're neither alone, nor the smartest creatures in creation. It explains why scientists think life might be plentiful on other worlds, and how we might get in touch. This easy-to-read book, by two experienced writers of popular astronomy, is suitable for anyone who ever wondered whether there's anybody out there

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408515210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521822336
  • ASIN: 0521822335
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,918,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The search for life in the universe must be a complex subject, involving nearly every scientific discipline: physics, astronomy, mathematics, etc; so, where can the average reader, who has an above average interest in SETI, go to learn the latest? "Cosmic Company" is a great place to start.
A moderate amount of insightful, conversational text complemented by colorful and sharp, sometimes stunning photographs, illustrations and artwork describes this book.
The authors will take you on a 'cook's tour' of the search for cosmic company: habitats where life might exist; what aliens might look like; whether they might read, or simply feed on, the pages of the text; the liklihood of alien contact; communication tools, passive and active; an elegant way to estimate the number of civilizations in our galaxy that have sent signals reaching earth; and a look into the future of SETI including the technology humans will have at their disposal to find evidence of life in the universe.
I liked the book because it clearly explains the intricate world of SETI.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
+++++

"This book is about a truly exciting adventure: the serious [or scientific] attempt to learn if we are alone in the Cosmos. For thousands of years, humans have explored the world in search of new places and other cultures. Now, finally we are exploring the realm of the stars."

The above is found in the last paragraph of this book's introduction. This book was written by Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in California and Alex Barnett, CEO of the Chabot Space Center also in California. (SETI stands for Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.)

This book is an incredibly easy-to-read, well-laid-out, concise, enjoyable, and sometimes humorous overview of the science & technology behind the search for life in the universe and discusses the real possibility of finding life elsewhere.

The book's index is mainly made up of main headings or topics with sub-topics that elaborate on the main heading. For example, under the main heading "Mars" are four sub-topics: face on, life on, water on, and Martian meteorite.

To give you an idea of the material covered, I will state the fourteen main headings and beside these, I will give their number of sub-topics:

(1) aliens (15)
(2) Drake equation* (4)
(3) intelligence (7)
(4) Jupiter (2)
(5) life (10)
(6) Mars (4)
(7) Moon (2)
(8) planets around other stars (3)
(9) radio telescopes (2)
(10) Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI (13)
(11) space travel (2)
(12) Solar System (2)
(13) stars (5)
(14) UFOs (5)

*The Drake equation is an equation for estimating the number of communicative civilizations in our Galaxy. Named after Dr. Frank Drake, co-founder of the SETI Institute.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Roberts on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this title from the SETI website, and was quite pleased (so much so that I bought another one they recommended). This is a great book. I finished it in two days - it is hard to put down. It is fairly light on the science. If you're looking for a detailed description of the science behind life (necessary conditions for a planet, etc.), this is not it. However, it gives a great description of the search for alien signals. The discussion of how human intelligence has maxed out is by itself worth the purchase price. This one is a fun read that won't strain your brain. Buy it!
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