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Life in the Universe (3rd Edition) [Paperback]

by Jeffrey O. Bennett, Seth Shostak
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 17, 2011 0321687671 978-0321687678 3

Life in the Universe takes non-science majors on a journey through the solar system and beyond, using a rigorous yet accessible introduction to astronomy, biology, and geology to explain natural phenomena and to explore profound scientific questions about astrobiology. The Third Edition has been thoroughly revised to include updated scientific discoveries, new Cosmic Context two-page spreads, and an updated Companion Website.


Designed for astrobiology courses but also suitable for introductory astronomy courses, Life in the Universe captures your imagination by exploring fundamental pan-scientific questions: What is life? How did life begin on Earth? What are the most extreme forms of life currently known? Is it reasonable to imagine life beyond Earth?


The text motivates you to develop basic reasoning skills and an understanding of the process of science through skillful writing and a wealth of pedagogical features, such as Learning Goals that keep you focused on key concepts. Sidebars provide optional mathematical material for courses that fulfill quantitative requirements.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeffrey Bennett

Jeffrey Bennett holds a B.A. (1981) in biophysics from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.S. and Ph.D. (1987) in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has taught at every level from preschool through graduate school, including more than 50 college classes in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and education. He served two years as a visiting senior scientist at NASA headquarters, where he created NASA's "IDEAS" program, started a program to fly teachers aboard NASA's airborne observatories (including SOFIA), and worked on numerous educational programs for the Hubble Space Telescope and other space science missions. He also proposed the idea for and helped develop both the Colorado Scale Model Solar System on the CU-Boulder campus and the Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In addition to this astronomy textbook, he has written college-level textbooks in astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics; two books for the general public: On the Cosmic Horizon (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2001) and Beyond UFOs (Princeton University Press, 2008); and an award-winning series of children's books that includes Max Goes to the Moon, Max Goes to Mars, Max Goes to Jupiter, and Max's Ice Age Adventure. When not working, he enjoys participating in masters swimming and in the daily adventures of life with his wife, Lisa; his children, Grant and Brooke; and his dog, Cosmo. His personal Website is



Seth Shostak earned his B.A. in physics from Princeton University (1965) and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology (1972). He is currently a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, where he helps press the search for intelligent cosmic company. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies and investigated the fact that these massive objects contain large amounts of unseen mass. He has worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in Groningen, the Netherlands (where he learned to speak bad Dutch). Seth also founded and ran a company that produced computer animation for television. He has written several hundred popular articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film, and television. A frequent fixture on the lecture circuit, Seth gives approximately 70 talks annually at both educational and corporate institutions, and he is also a frequent commentator on astronomical matters for radio and television. His book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic, 2009) details the latest ideas, as well as the personal experience of his day job. When he’s not trying to track down aliens, Seth can often be found behind the microphone, as host of the SETI Institute's weekly, one-hour radio show about science, Are We Alone.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 3 edition (January 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321687671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321687678
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 9.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Universe 3rd Edition January 31, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought and read the 2nd edition as well as the 3rd and both are amazingly well written with lots of coloured diagrams and photos. Very clearly written with very little prerequisites needed to understand the subject matter. The 3rd edition has updated information regarding more recently discovered extrasolar planets. If you buy one book on Astrobiology make it this one , it is that good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Textbook May 8, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book does a fantastic job of introducing concepts in geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and of course astronomy, and ties them all together with the search for extraterrestrial life. The book was both entertaining and informative, and was truly a pleasure to read.

If this book were cheaper I would recommend it for laymen to read if the search for ET is an affinity or interest. The book is relatively thin, and like most text books I can't figure out why they are so expensive when I can buy books of the same or bigger sizes new for $20. It is also a paperback, which I don't like very much as I prefer hardcovers for books that I will keep and reference later. Still, for use in a class it is actually a great book. 4.5/5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I LIKED IT September 1, 2013
By Phillip
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It helped and was a good text for my class. For person with no knowledge of the stars and planets this is excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read January 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides a simple explanation of combined sciences: Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Geology. It has a has what is considered valid explanations of the Universe is existence and composition. The easy to read text makes for a very good beginners book on what is astronomy and Bioastronomy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book March 24, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was in good condition, considering it came folded in half in the package, It was not too bad.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not bad February 18, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i rented it
condition is good just that i cant write my own notes and highlight notes .
have to take care well of it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast shipping January 17, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This came in fast and in the condition I expected, so I am pleased with it and look forward to the class it goes with!
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