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Planet Earth: Cosmology, Geology, and the Evolution of Life and Environment Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0521409490 ISBN-10: 0521409497 Edition: First Edition

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Planet Earth: Cosmology, Geology, and the Evolution of Life and Environment + The Scientific Companion: Exploring the Physical World with Facts, Figures, and Formulas (Wiley Popular Scienc)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First Edition edition (August 28, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521409497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521409490
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'... a challenging read ...' New Scientist

'Planet Earth is a book that can be read from start to finish and it is also a book that can be dipped into almost anywhere. There is much here to educate and also to entertain.' Mercian Geologist

Book Description

This book presents a global picture of our world - how it originated, how it evolved, how it works - and provides the background necessary to assess ways to stabilize it. Although the science is rigorous and quantitative, the book is written in an informal style and is readily accessible.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a physical geology/earth science/earth system science book for smart students.
Bruce Crocker
It is very understandable, while at the same time relating the topics to basic physical or chemical properties of the elements around us.
Andrew W. Brousseau
I've found it endlessly inspiring in my barely initiated journey into geology and all natural science.
Kharan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on May 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
At this point in history, I teach a college preparatory course in earth science to 9th graders in northern Orange County, California. I don't have my MS [didn't finish my research or write my thesis], so I won't be teaching a basic earth science course at a junior college anytime soon. And even if the College Board okays an AP Geology course, I doubt this book will wind up on the approved text list. However, I can dream. If I could teach the senior high school level or freshman junior college level earth science course of my dreams, Planet Earth by Cesare Emiliani would be my text. This is a physical geology/earth science/earth system science book for smart students. Emiliani pulls no punches, includes lots of equations, asks open-ended questions and shows an excellent wit. All the pictures/drawings/diagrams are in black and white, so if you've got students who need lots of Kodachrome to excite them, this isn't the text for you. It's a quirky, unique text. It's not like any of the other basic earth science texts out there and bears the personal touches of its author. I read it for fun and inspiration and would definitely recommend it for the interested nonscientist. I know it's a paperback, but it is worth every penny you pay for it. Get a copy for your reference shelf today! And maybe you'll teach my dream course before I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. D. Weitzenhoffer on September 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a physicist, and regretted never having taken a geology/earth science class, so I decided to read a few books to remedy my ignorance. I chose this one to start after a brief search for good geology texts. It did not disappoint.

The book begins with a brief overview of elementary physics. It is not exhaustive, nor will it replace the typical sequence of physics courses a geologist should take. Rather, Emiliani has chosen to highlight the elements of physics he considered most directly applicable. There are some minor mistakes which, no doubt, a second edition would have remedied if not for the unfortunate death of the author.

From there, he proceeds into a brief overview of cosmology and astronomy, again highlighting/reviewing the concepts he considers most important, and those that lead to an understanding of the formation of the solar system and earth.

The typical geology one might expect covers just about 200 pages of the book, but is sufficient to give a good underpinning of the basics: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology, geophysics and plate tectonics, atmosphere and ocean, sedimentology and stratigraphy.

The next 200 pages are a great overview of historical geology and evolution of life.

The book closes with a brief human history of science and chronological dictionary of the scientists Emiliani considers most influential.

The appendices cover over 100 pages, but are somewhat dated.

The textbook is somewhat out of date, but not horribly, but the scope more than makes up for this, providing a launching point for further study. It is really too bad the author died so soon after publication -- I would love to have seen what a 3rd or 4th edition would have looked like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew W. Brousseau on August 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so great, I read it front to back. It is very understandable, while at the same time relating the topics to basic physical or chemical properties of the elements around us. He will tangent into a different 'field of study' in order to explain why something exists or came to be. Great book. It is also a good reference for all kinds of physical, chemical, geological, biologic knowns/definitions.

It's set chronologically from the beginning of the Earth till modern day. All the while explaining Earth/life processes. Lots of diagrams, tables, and illustrations.

This would be a great classroom book as well.
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By Kharan on March 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, as a geology student, I can only express my deep admiration for Dr. Emiliani. He's all that a scientist ever aspires to be, in the sense that his familiarity and mastery of the basic and soft sciences is almost complete, his original research is fantastic, and he has a sense of humor!
In all seriousness, the book is more like The Guide to Life, Earth and Everything (and written with a perspicacity and dry humor worthy of Douglas Adams). I've found it endlessly inspiring in my barely initiated journey into geology and all natural science. Dr. Emiliani can synthesize in two paragraphs what takes many other writers pages to explain - because he just assumes that the reader is familiar enough with the ideas presented, or that will scavenge that information. In short, there's no patronizing treatment of his readership. His "Think" sections are brilliant and really force one to think. The coverage of all subjects related to the exploration of Earth and the Universe is very complete and compelling.
If anything, this isn't a book I would recommend for people unfamiliar with science. Despite his claims to the contrary, this is a text that demands a good base in math, chemistry, physics, and biology to be understandable. Otherwise it would become a slow and painful read, when the book is intended to be brief and fast-paced. It's certainly not necessary to be a Ph.D. in the topics covered or anything else, but it showcases masterfully just how diverse must a geologist's background be to really grasp the field.

In short, if you're studying the Earth sciences, this is a must-read. For people with other scientific backgrounds, this can be an engaging and fascinating introduction to the field. For the casual reader, however, it might not be that great, unless they have a solid scientific formation. To give you an idea, I get the feeling that this would be the book Sheldon Cooper needs to read to overcome his aversion of geologists...
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