With black-and-white line drawings throughout
From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us?
In Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human bodies - our hands, heads, and jaws - and the structures in fish and worms that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. In The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting once again with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe's fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.
Having spent the better part of my working life staring at rocks on the ground, I've gained a certain perspective on life and the universe. My professional aspirationuncovering clues to the making of our bodieslies inside the baked desert floor or deep within the frozen Arctic. While this ambition may seem eccentric, it is not much different from that of colleagues who peer at the light of distant stars and galaxies, map the bottom of the oceans, or chart the surface of barren planets in our solar system. What weaves our work together are some of the most powerful ideas that mankind has ever developed, ones that can explain how we and our world came to be.
These notions inspired my first book, Your Inner Fish. Inside every organ, cell, and piece of DNA in our bodies lie over 3.5 billion years of the history of life. Accordingly, clues to the human story reside within impressions of worms in rock, the DNA of fish, and clumps of algae in a pond.
While I ...
To read The Universe Within is to arrive at all sorts of wonders. Neil Shubin illuminates our inner and outer selves and our world, and demonstrates how beautifully connected, transitory, rare, and changeable we are.
(Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (1377 words).
Neil Shubin describes The Universe Within as a "timeline" covering great events and processes of the history of the cosmos, the planet and life on earth. But his is also a timeline of scientists and scientific discoveries that enlarged our understanding of the world. One scientist who stood out for me was Henrietta Leavitt (1868-1921).
Leavitt became interested in astronomy while a student at Radcliffe College. After graduation, an illness robbed her of her hearing and she became a researcher at the Harvard College Observatory where she cared for telescopes and directed the photographic photometry department. Edward Charles Pickering was director of the observatory and hired his maid, Williamina Fleming, Leavitt and other women to do...
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