Best Books of the Month Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Joe Bonamassa All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer gdwf gdwf gdwf  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Shop Now Halloween

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Other Worlds: The Search for Life in the Universe 1st Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684832944
ISBN-10: 0684832941
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A copy that has been read, but remains in good condition. Pages are intact and are NOT marred by notes or highlighting. It has no sign of wear and is ready to be shipped by amazon. Thank you.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
45 Used from $0.28
More Buying Choices
12 New from $3.59 45 Used from $0.28 4 Collectible from $5.44
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Save Up to 90% on Textbooks Textbooks

Editorial Reviews Review

The first planet around a sunlike star was finally detected in 1995, after decades of false alarms. It was inevitable that within a couple of years a flood of books on extrasolar planets would gush forth. Michael Lemonick is the senior science writer at Time magazine, and his account is the most readable and vivid yet. He has a fluid, anecdotal style, with a good ear for the sort of simile that really speaks to the average reader, as when he describes hooking up a radio telescope being like "setting up a new computer yourself. Sometimes it just plain doesn't work, and you can't for the life of you figure out why."

Lemonick structures Other Worlds around Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler, whose Extrasolar Planet Search Project at the University of California, San Francisco, is the most successful program so far, with six planet discoveries to its credit by the end of 1998. Lemonick's other touchstone is the Drake Equation, which he hyperbolically calls "the second most important equation of the century." If we could fit in values for the seven terms in this equation, we could say something sensible about the number of civilizations in the galaxy. So far, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has not come up with any actual data, but, as one researcher says, it's "the world's biggest carrot," and worth enduring a considerable number of sticks. --Mary Ellen Curtin

From Publishers Weekly

When the discoveries of the first-confirmed extra-solar planets and evidence for ancient life in a meteorite from Mars were announced within six months of each other in 1996, a spate of titles on the subject of life in the universe became inevitable. Fortunately, this "work of journalism rather than... scholarship," as described by Lemonick (The Light at the Edge of the Universe), senior science writer at Time, favors careful reporting over sensationalism, conveying extraordinarily well both the excitement and the challenge of the famous Drake Equation, which makes a concise mathematical prediction of the number of intelligent, communicating civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. Lemonick explores the Drake Equation term by term, describing in clear and engrossing detail both the human and scientific stories of the technological wizards, like San Francisco State scientists Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler, whose work has taken us to the edge of discovery of other Earth-like worlds, using spectroscopy, the projected NGST (Next Generation Space Telescope) and other innovative technologies and methodologies. Although cautious readers may argue with Lemonick's prediction that we may have proof within a decade or two of life on other planets, few would dispute the power of his energetic work to carry readers to the frontier of scientific knowledge, technological creativity and human curiosity.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (May 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832944
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,278,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 5 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Are Earth-like planets a rarity in the universe? Is our Solar System, with its 9 peaceful planets in circular orbits, some fluke or a godsend among the 100 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy? Is intelligent life in the universe such a rarity that we may be cosmically alone?
Mike Lemonick has produced a book that is exquisitely accurate and humanly compelling about the discovery of alien worlds around other stars. The book captures the difficulties of forging ahead toward new scientific techniques that often lead to failures. But in this case, Lemonick describes how several astronomers worldwide pushed forward despite those obstacles. Ultimately, these astronomers captured the most sought-after discovery in astronomy: the first true New Worlds, outside our Solar System.
Lemonick reveals the quirky personalities of the astronomers who made the 10-year trek toward these discoveries. Along the way, this book describes the chances that Earth-like planets may lead to life elsewhere in the universe. The book beautifully explains the ultimate human exploration: travelling to the new worlds in search of our biological roots out among the stars.
This book is a great read, and will stand as a historical benchmark about a great moment in scientific discovery.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The classic Drake equation is an estimate of the number of civilizations there are in the galaxy, and for years, all but one of the terms was based only on speculation. For some of the terms, it was reasoned, but for others the value was the wildest of guesses. The formula is N = R * F(p) * N(e) * F(L) * F(I) * F(c) * L, where N is the number of civilizations, R is the rate at which Sun-like stars are formed, F(p) is the fraction of those stars that form planets, N(e) is the number of planets per star that can support life, F(L) is the fraction of planets where life emerges, F(I) is the fraction of such planets where intelligence emerges, F(c) is the fraction of such planets where the inhabitants develop interstellar communication and L is the length of time that the civilization actually communicates. Originally put forward in 1961, there was little improvement in the understanding of the parameters for decades.
However, all of that began to change in the last few years as advances in instrumentation is allowing astronomers to detect bodies revolving around stars. The preliminary results, which are withstanding intense scrutiny, are twofold. The first is that many (perhaps even most) stars have bodies revolving around them and the second is that the definition of planet is a vague one. Quite naturally, the first such bodies discovered are rather large and probably fit the definition of a star better than that of a planet. Nevertheless, such bodies appear to be very common and are being found in unexpected places. The people conducting the searches, the mechanisms being used and the conclusions to date is the main theme of the book.
I was aware of some of the results, but had no knowledge as to the specific tactics being used in the search for "planets.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This starts out rather excitingly, as though a kind of science drama, but dissipates into a not bad book about how the recently discovered planets around other stars were discovered. Lemonick, a Time science writer, tries to make the characters come alive, and they do to some extent, although this is no novelistic work. Lemonick emphasizes the equipment, telescopes, etc. and the techniques used. He does a good job.
The material on the Mars rock brings us up to date, circa 1997 or thereabouts: they've proved nothing, yet my guess is that we will find that microscopic life existed on Mars three and a half billion years ago. When this happens it will be a big media event, yet it will mean little to the average person. When INTELLIGENT life is found on other planets in another solar system, if that ever happens, it will be a big time media event and will have an EXTRAORDINARY impact on the culture of this world. My guess, after reading this and several other books on extraterrestrial life, is that life is common, but intelligent life rare; consequently, considering the amazing distances in interstellar space, I don't expect any kind of contact in my lifetime. In fact a half life for contact time (just a stab) might be a thousand years or more, assuming that intelligent life exists in, say, every hundred million star systems. Question: will we last a thousand years?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Finally. Somebody who knows how to write about complex scientific issues in a way that even scientifically-challenged readers like myself can understand. Mr. Lemonick knows how to make science interesting and fun. As a college student who spends most of her time doing required reading, it's seldom that I read a science book unless it's assigned. But this book caught my eye as I walked past it. The more of it I read, the less I was able to put it down and had to buy it. Great, great book! (And wow... smashing cover, I might add. Way, way cool.) Oprah... if you're out there... you've got to get this guy on your show. I know you're hung up on the "feelings thing" but aliens have feelings too you know.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again