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Destiny or Chance Revisited

Destiny or Chance Revisited [Kindle Edition]

Stuart Ross Taylor

Kindle-Preis: EUR 13,99 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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'This book is an encyclopaedic reference of the vast range of intertwining phenomena and processes which compete to shape the paths of planet-making. It is comprehensive, thorough, and admirably up-to-date. With many intriguing historic antidotes and vivid analogies, Taylor lucidly conveys some deep concepts in layman terms, without the distraction of intimidating formula or excessive jargon. It is a must-have for all amateurs or professionals who are fascinated by our place in the Universe.' Douglas Lin, Lick Observatory, University of California

'In his highly readable style, Ross Taylor describes the most recently discovered members of the solar system family, and the planets found to circle other stars. Anyone interested in planetary formation will be interested by his argument for their formation by chance and the laws of physics, not by destiny or design, and his conclusion that other peopled earths must be extremely rare.' John Wood, former Associate Director, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

'This book presents an interesting and novel view of the origin of the Earth and life upon it. It successfully covers the known fact[s] about the main members of our solar system as well as fully covering the recent discoveries concerning other planetary system[s]. It also looks the formation of planets and planetary system[s], placing the concept within the wider context of stars and galaxies. It is [a] thoroughly readable account, accessible to a wide audience, with complex concepts being explained in an informative way. Readers of all levels will both enjoy and learn from this book.' Iwan Williams, Queen Mary, University of London

'Subject: nothing less important than the universe including its history. Author: nothing less than a world-renowned scientist of broad learning with an exceptional gift for exposition. Result: nothing less than a must-read for scientists, philosophers, and anyone interested in learning about some of the most dramatic advances in our understanding of the universe and our place in it.' Michael J. Crowe, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, and author of The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750–1900

'This is an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in planetary formation and the exploration of the universe.' Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

'… benefits from an accessible and engaging tone … full of interesting tidbits …' Olivia Johnson,

'Without doubt one of the most important astronomical texts of the decade so far.' Astronomy Now

'Taylor puts the reader at ease early by defining terminology in an inviting conversational tone, which continues throughout the book … Useful for intrepid laypersons, students, and professionals. Summing up: recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general audiences.' N. W. Hinman, Choice

Über das Produkt

This exciting tour of our Universe explores our current knowledge of exoplanets and the search for another Earth-like planet. Stuart Ross Taylor provides detailed studies of Earth and our Solar System as a basis for understanding exoplanets and planetary habitability, including philosophical and historical perspectives on planets and extraterrestrial life.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1910 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 313 Seiten
  • Gleichzeitige Verwendung von Geräten: Bis zu 4 Geräte gleichzeitig, je nach vom Verlag festgelegter Grenze
  • Verlag: Cambridge University Press; Auflage: 1 (23. November 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B009ZRNS3K
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #733.035 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  10 Rezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An Excellent Primer on Planetary Formation 13. Februar 2013
Von Terry Sunday - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
The hunt for planets orbiting other stars has become an extremely fertile field of astronomy since the first confirmed detection of an extra-solar planet, or exoplanet, in late 1995. The discovery of a Jupiter-mass planet circling the 50-light-year distant Sun-type star 51 Pegasi in an astounding 4.2-day orbit opened the floodgates. Scientists have now confirmed the existence of thousands of exoplanets, many of them detected by spacecraft such as Kepler and Corot built especially for the purpose. The count rises almost daily. The days when nearly everyone except science fiction writers thought our solar system with its retinue of nine (okay, eight) planets was unique in the universe now seem quaint indeed. Today, planetary systems around other stars are as common as fleas on a stray dog. But the big question that really captures the public's imagination is one for which there is no answer--is there life on any of these exoplanets?

Dr. Stuart Ross Taylor's "Destiny or Chance Revisited" is an excellent overview of our current understanding of the processes by which stars and planets form from clouds of dust and gas. He devotes quite a bit of the book to detailing the scenarios by which our own solar system formed 4.567 billion years ago. He provides detailed descriptions of the physical and chemical properties of the inner rocky worlds (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) and the outer gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). Throughout, he shows how the evolution of these worlds depended solely on chaotic, random processes, such as major collisions and impacts and the migration of planets inwards toward the sun and outwards away from it, that are unlikely to precisely repeat in other stellar systems.

He emphasizes that all eight major planets and more than 160 moons in the solar system are unique, even those such as the moons of Jupiter that are cosmic neighbors. Furthermore, most facts we've learned about the worlds in our own solar system, from direct exploration by astronauts or unmanned spacecraft, have been surprises that confounded predictions. He points out that the possibility of remotely determining the present condition and evolution of exoplanets, which, like the solar system, no doubt formed from chaotic, random events, is virtually nil. He ultimately concludes that the possibility of advanced intelligent life, or indeed life of any recognizable kind, existing anywhere in our galactic neighborhood is vanishingly small. He is especially skeptical about the odds that our planet-hunting projects will detect any "earthlike" planets.

Casual readers, or those unfamiliar with the basic concepts of astrophysics and planetary science, may find "Destiny or Chance Revisited" to be a bit too deep as a popular treatment of an esoteric subject. The information it presents is thick and dense, and perhaps too detailed for the novice to readily digest. But those willing to devote the time and effort to reading and understanding it will gain a comprehensive understanding of how the solar system formed, why the planets are as they are today and what we might learn about planets orbiting distant stars. The search for exoplanets and their characterization is one of today's cutting-edge branches of astronomy, and "Destiny or Chance Revisited" provides a excellent survey of the field. I recommend it highly.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Chaos, variety, and a whole lot of accidents 22. Februar 2013
Von J. Green - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
You might be forgiven for thinking that a book about the stars and planets and with a title like this one is about astrology and fortune-telling, but this excellent book really *is* about the stars and planets. More specifically it's about the possibility that there is intelligent life (kinda like us, but hopefully *more* intelligent) out there. And it's a topic that's frequently in the news lately as we see more and more stories about astronomers discovering new "earth-like" planets as they scan the heavens. A problem, Professor Taylor says, is defining what "earth-like" actually means.

This is a very good primer on what we know about the universe, which is largely limited to our observations of those planets nearest us - and what we see is a whole lot of variety. None of the 8 planets in our solar system are alike, and astronomers aren't finding a lot of other planets that resemble them. In fact, the conditions we find nearest to us don't appear to be normal or ordinary elsewhere. Taylor discusses the composition of the planets and the current theories on how each was formed after the Big Bang. He discusses a broad range of things like comets and asteroids and orbits and tilts (and lots of other stuff that was a bit over my head!) and it was fascinating to read. In the end he concludes that the formation of intelligent life on earth (us) was the result of so many accidents and chance events (and his list is very interesting) that the chance of such randomness occurring elsewhere is essentially zero.

This probably isn't the best introductory book for those wishing to know more about the subject, and I found I had to go slowly (and frequently go back and re-read) to understand it. Taylor frequently uses terms that weren't included in the glossary in the front of the book, and sometimes they aren't explained at the same time he first uses them but much later on. He writes with a style (more so in the beginning) that I imagine those more familiar with the subject might fine snarky, but to me it just sounded derisive and condescending. And it was irritating that he begins many sections with quotes that are only attributed in the endnotes of the book - I wish the author (and maybe even the date) had been included with the quote which would have given it better context (the notes in general seemed thin). But that sounds like I'm complaining more than I am and I really enjoyed this book and found it very insightful.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful writing on a hot (and interesting) topic 6. Mai 2013
Von K. Bortz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
The first thing that really grabbed me about this book is the wtriting style. It's a very friendly, conversational tone, not what I expected from a non-fictional astronomy book on the currently hot topic of extra-solar planets (although, just like you would see in an actual conversation, sometimes the "outline" of the book is not quite followed, with some concepts discussed before they're defined). The tone is engaging and complex explanations are very easy to decode.

I've been an amateur amateur astronomer for many years, and read up on subjects like this when I can, and I still learned a lot from this book. The book begins with a brief history of the theories in astronomy, through the revolutionary concepts of a sun-centered solar system, up to current concepts. The current theories on the formation of the solar system are discussed, and then these concepts are extended to other stars (with much discussion as to why we can't exactly do that). It's an amazingly current book, too, with much discussions on still-ongoing research (as of 2013).

So this is an easy, enjoayable scientific read, well worth reading because it's so engagingly written. And I did learn quite a bit.
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good astronomy devolves into an ignorant antireligious tirade 4. März 2014
Von Joseph T. Reinckens II - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I bought the original 1998 version awhile back, which dealt primarily with the solar system. This updated version goes quite a bit more into extra-solar planets.

The majority of the book is pretty good and goes into the details of solar planet formation much more than any other astronomy books I have seen aimed at a popular audience. I definitely recommend it because of that material.

But near the end the author goes off on an antireligious rant that simply shows that he hasn't made any effort whatsoever to look into apologetics -- the formal presentation of arguments and evidence as to why a particular set of religious beliefs should be seriously considered as accurate. It's one thing to examine specific arguments and say, "I think they're erroneous for this ... and this ... and this ... reason." It's another thing to basically just say, "Everyone who believes this sort of thing is an ignorant fool and I don't need to waste my time looking into their reasoning or conclusions."

You'll see the word "stochastic" more times than you could ever imagine. It's a fancy word for "random chance". He obviously figures that calling it "stochastic" makes it more "scientific". He never even attempts to address a fundamental flaw in his reasoning: he simply ASSUMES that complex INFORMATION can arise from randomness by random chance -- although that has NEVER been empirically observed. He never addresses the fact that that foundational postulate is in fact an unproved assumption and if that postulate is in fact incorrect then his whole "stochastic" argument fails.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Made me Think! 3. Oktober 2013
Von Tall Dee - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I first read this book as an E-book and was so impressed that I decided to buy the "paper" edition and re-read it, finding it easier for me to go "back and forth" in the "paper" book than reading it on my Aluratek Pro E-reader. I have been interested in Astronomy since childhood and always thought that with around 400 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy there MUST be planets around lots of these stars, some of these planets even harboring life of some sort. Taylor's book answers my questions and he has written it at the layman's level so I had no trouble understanding what he has to say.
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