• Science

Oxygen

A Four Billion Year History
Author: Donald E. Canfield
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400849888
Category: Science
Page: 216
View: 3230
The air we breathe is twenty-one percent oxygen, an amount higher than on any other known world. While we may take our air for granted, Earth was not always an oxygenated planet. How did it become this way? Donald Canfield—one of the world's leading authorities on geochemistry, earth history, and the early oceans—covers this vast history, emphasizing its relationship to the evolution of life and the evolving chemistry of the Earth. Canfield guides readers through the various lines of scientific evidence, considers some of the wrong turns and dead ends along the way, and highlights the scientists and researchers who have made key discoveries in the field. Showing how Earth’s atmosphere developed over time, Oxygen takes readers on a remarkable journey through the history of the oxygenation of our planet. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

    • Science

Oxygen

A Four Billion Year History
Author: Donald E. Canfield
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780691168364
Category: Science
Page: 196
View: 686
The air we breathe is twenty-one percent oxygen, an amount higher than on any other known world. While we may take our air for granted, Earth was not always an oxygenated planet. How did it become this way? This book is the most current account of the history of atmospheric oxygen on Earth.

    • Science

Oxygen

A Four Billion Year History
Author: Donald E. Canfield
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780691145020
Category: Science
Page: 196
View: 2259
"With humor and humanity, "Oxygen" captures the excitement of scientific discovery and describes the amazing natural history of how Earth's oxygenated atmosphere came to be."--Ed DeLong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "A fascinating, accessible tour through the history of atmospheric oxygen, written by one of the world's top geobiologists. Canfield takes the reader from the anaerobic early Archean Earth up through the modern highly oxygenated environment, providing pointers to the relevant scientific literature along the way. Even experts in this field will learn things from his book."--James Kasting, author of "How to Find a Habitable Planet" "In "Oxygen," Don Canfield recounts two epics in one--the evolution of breathable air over the entirety of Earth history, and the equally engaging account of how scientists have reconstructed this history from chemical details in ancient rocks. Even those who know the story well, or think they do, will find much food for thought."--Andrew Knoll, Harvard University, author of "Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth" "Canfield takes us on a journey through the discovery of what produces oxygen, how oxygen evolved on the planet, and how that evolution influenced other aspects of planetary evolution. An enjoyable book."--Lee Kump, coauthor of "The Earth System" "This is a wonderful introduction to the most important event in Earth history--the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. Canfield shares his broad and deep grasp of the field, his research leadership, his respect and admiration for the work of others, and his excitement and healthy skepticism about what we know--and still need to know."--Timothy W. Lyons, University of California, Riverside

    • Science

Revolutions that Made the Earth


Author: Tim Lenton,Andrew Watson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191501778
Category: Science
Page: 440
View: 8824
The Earth that sustains us today was born out of a few remarkable, near-catastrophic revolutions, started by biological innovations and marked by global environmental consequences. The revolutions have certain features in common, such as an increase in complexity, energy utilization, and information processing by life. This book describes these revolutions, showing the fundamental interdependence of the evolution of life and its non-living environment. We would not exist unless these upheavals had led eventually to 'successful' outcomes - meaning that after each one, at length, a new stable world emerged. The current planet-reshaping activities of our species may be the start of another great Earth system revolution, but there is no guarantee that this one will be successful. The book explains what a successful transition through it might look like, if we are wise enough to steer such a course. This book places humanity in context as part of the Earth system, using a new scientific synthesis to illustrate our debt to the deep past and our potential for the future.

    • Science

The Goldilocks Planet

The 4 billion year story of Earth's climate
Author: Jan Zalasiewicz,Mark Williams
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191634026
Category: Science
Page: 336
View: 5131
Climate change is a major topic of concern today, scientifically, socially, and politically. It will undoubtedly continue to be so for the foreseeable future, as predicted changes in global temperatures, rainfall, and sea level take place, and as human society adapts to these changes. In this remarkable new work, Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams demonstrate how the Earth's climate has continuously altered over its 4.5 billion-year history. The story can be read from clues preserved in the Earth's strata - the evidence is abundant, though always incomplete, and also often baffling, puzzling, infuriating, tantalizing, seemingly contradictory. Geologists, though, are becoming ever more ingenious at interrogating this evidence, and the story of the Earth's climate is now being reconstructed in ever-greater detail - maybe even providing us with clues to the future of contemporary climate change. The history is dramatic and often abrupt. Changes in global and regional climate range from bitterly cold to sweltering hot, from arid to humid, and they have impacted hugely upon the planet's evolving animal and plant communities, and upon its physical landscapes of the Earth. And yet, through all of this, the Earth has remained consistently habitable for life for over three billion years - in stark contrast to its planetary neighbours. Not too hot, not too cold; not too dry, not too wet, it is aptly known as 'the Goldilocks planet'.

    • Science

The Oceans

A Deep History
Author: Eelco J. Rohling
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400888662
Category: Science
Page: 272
View: 6472
The 4.4-billion-year history of the oceans and their role in Earth's climate system It has often been said that we know more about the moon than we do about our own oceans. In fact, we know a great deal more about the oceans than many people realize. Scientists know that our actions today are shaping the oceans and climate of tomorrow—and that if we continue to act recklessly, the consequences will be dire. In this timely and accessible book, Eelco Rohling traces the 4.4 billion-year history of Earth’s oceans while also shedding light on the critical role they play in our planet’s climate system. Beginning with the formation of primeval Earth and the earliest appearance of oceans, Rohling takes readers on a journey through prehistory to the present age, vividly describing the major events in the ocean’s evolution—from snowball and greenhouse Earth to the end-Permian mass extinction, the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent, and the changing climate of today. Along the way, he explores the close interrelationships of the oceans, climate, solid Earth processes, and life, using the context of Earth and ocean history to provide perspective on humankind’s impacts on the health and habitability of our planet—and on what the future may hold for us. An invaluable introduction to the cutting-edge science of paleoceanography, The Oceans enables you to make your own informed opinions about the environmental challenges we face as a result of humanity’s unrelenting drive to exploit the world ocean and its vital resources.

    • Science

Oxygen

The Molecule that Made the World
Author: Nick Lane
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780198607830
Category: Science
Page: 374
View: 1606
Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains far more than the size of ancient insects: it shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. Drawing on this grand evolutionary canvas, Oxygen offers fresh perspectives on our own lives and deaths, explaining modern killer diseases, why we age, and what we can do about it.

    • Science

A New History of Life

The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth
Author: Peter Ward,Joe Kirschvink
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608199088
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 2508
Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.' In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen "snowball Earth†?, and the seeds for life originating on Mars. Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

    • Science

Origin Story

A Big History of Everything
Author: David Christian
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316392022
Category: Science
Page: 368
View: 9953
"I have long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative." --Bill Gates A captivating history of the universe -- from before the dawn of time through the far reaches of the distant future. Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence? These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History," the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history." By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together -- from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond. With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.

    • Science

Gorgon

The Monsters That Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History
Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
ISBN: 9780143034711
Category: Science
Page: 257
View: 2353
Based on more than a decade's research in South Africa's Karoo Desert, this remarkable journey of discovery and real-life adventure deep into Earth's history is offered by a renowned scientist. Photo insert.

    • Science

The Emerald Planet

How plants changed Earth's history
Author: David Beerling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192529781
Category: Science
Page: 416
View: 1572
Plants have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Far from being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them. In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how plants played a starring role in pushing oxygen levels upwards, allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and it strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victorian times onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles. This understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the world through the stories they tell. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

    • Science

Life's Engines

How Microbes Made Earth Habitable
Author: Paul G. Falkowski
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400865727
Category: Science
Page: 224
View: 3753
For almost four billion years, microbes had the primordial oceans all to themselves. The stewards of Earth, these organisms transformed the chemistry of our planet to make it habitable for plants, animals, and us. Life's Engines takes readers deep into the microscopic world to explore how these marvelous creatures made life on Earth possible—and how human life today would cease to exist without them. Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built—and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes. A vibrantly entertaining book about the microbes that support our very existence, Life's Engines will inspire wonder about these elegantly complex nanomachines that have driven life since its origin. It also issues a timely warning about the dangers of tinkering with that machinery to make it more "efficient" at meeting the ever-growing demands of humans in the coming century.

    • Science

Caesar's Last Breath

Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316381632
Category: Science
Page: 384
View: 357
The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017 One of Science News's Favorite Science Books of 2017 The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell. In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

    • Science

Encyclopedia of Evolution


Author: Stanley A. Rice
Publisher: Infobase Publishing
ISBN: 1438110057
Category: Science
Page: 468
View: 7635
Evolutionary science is not only one of the greatest breakthroughs of modern science, but also one of the most controversial. Perhaps more than any other scientific area, evolutionary science has caused us all to question what we are, where we came from, and how we relate to the rest of the universe. Encyclopedia of Evolution contains more than 200 entries that span modern evolutionary science and the history of its development. This comprehensive volume clarifies many common misconceptions about evolution. For example, many people have grown up being told that the fossil record does not demonstrate an evolutionary pattern, and that there are many missing links. In fact, most of these missing links have been found, and their modern representatives are often still alive today. The biographical entries represent evolutionary scientists within the United States who have had and continue to have a major impact on the broad outline of evolutionary science. The biographies chosen reflect the viewpoints of scientists working within the United States. Five essays that explore interesting questions resulting from studies in evolutionary science are included as well. The appendix consists of a summary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, which is widely considered to be the foundational work of evolutionary science and one of the most important books in human history. The five essays include: How much do genes control human behavior?What are the ghosts of evolution?Can an evolutionary scientist be religious?Why do humans die?Are humans alone in the universe

    • Science

The Abyss of Time

A study in geological time and Earth history
Author: Paul Lyle
Publisher: Dunedin Academic Press
ISBN: 1780465432
Category: Science
Page: 256
View: 3265
Geologists are among that group of scientists who must factor the passage of time into their investigations and they thus have a perspective on time that sets them apart from many other researchers. The proposition that geological time is vast, encompassing thousands of millions of years, is relatively recent. It is a concept that remains controversial and unacceptable to many people today who still consider the Earth to have been made to a timetable covering no more than ten thousand years. Paul Lyle examines how our fascination with time has developed from our earliest ancestors' recognition of the cycles of the sun and the moon. It considers the passage of time as a series of non-repeatable events, Time's Arrow, in contrast to time as a series of repeated processes, Time's Cycle, both of which can be used to explain geological features on the Earth's surface. The author argues for a greater understanding of geological or ‘deep time’ as society becomes more aware of the vulnerability of the Earth's resources to over-exploitation by an expanding consumer society. This debate and the controversy surrounding global warming emphasises the importance of geological time to the process of economic and political decision-making. It is a book for those interested in the intellectual challenge presented by the extent of geological time. It is written for environmentalists and policy-makers who wish to better place their concerns and decisions in proper context but, above all, it is a book that offers to share a geologist’s appreciation of time with the widest possible audience. Winner of the ASE Science Book of the Year Award 2016.

    • Science

Symbiotic Planet

A New Look At Evolution
Author: Lynn Margulis
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780786724482
Category: Science
Page: 352
View: 8820
Although Charles Darwin's theory of evolution laid the foundations of modern biology, it did not tell the whole story. Most remarkably, The Origin of Species said very little about, of all things, the origins of species. Darwin and his modern successors have shown very convincingly how inherited variations are naturally selected, but they leave unanswered how variant organisms come to be in the first place.In Symbiotic Planet, renowned scientist Lynn Margulis shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with each other, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty. Ranging from bacteria, the smallest kinds of life, to the largest—the living Earth itself—Margulis explains the symbiotic origins of many of evolution's most important innovations. The very cells we're made of started as symbiotic unions of different kinds of bacteria. Sex—and its inevitable corollary, death—arose when failed attempts at cannibalism resulted in seasonally repeated mergers of some of our tiniest ancestors. Dry land became forested only after symbioses of algae and fungi evolved into plants. Since all living things are bathed by the same waters and atmosphere, all the inhabitants of Earth belong to a symbiotic union. Gaia, the finely tuned largest ecosystem of the Earth's surface, is just symbiosis as seen from space. Along the way, Margulis describes her initiation into the world of science and the early steps in the present revolution in evolutionary biology; the importance of species classification for how we think about the living world; and the way “academic apartheid” can block scientific advancement. Written with enthusiasm and authority, this is a book that could change the way you view our living Earth.

    • Science

The Story of Earth

The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet
Author: Robert M. Hazen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143123645
Category: Science
Page: 320
View: 825
The author of the best-selling Science Matters outlines a radical new approach to geologic history that advances controversial theories that the Earth evolved and that life evolved from minerals, assessing supportive findings while explaining the impact of human actions.

    • Science

H2O

A Biography of Water
Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 1780227493
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 9400
The brilliantly told and gripping story of the most familiar - yet, amazingly, still poorly understood - substance in the universe: Water. The extent to which water remains a scientific mystery is extraordinary, despite its prevalence and central importance on Earth. Whether one considers its role in biology, its place in the physical world (where it refuses to obey the usual rules of liquids) or its deceptively simple structure, there is still no complete answer to the question: what is water? Philip Ball's book explains what, exactly, we do and do not know about the strange character of this most essential and ubiquitous of substances. H20 begins by transporting its readers back to the Big Bang and the formation of galaxies to witness the birth of water's constituent elements: hydrogen and oxygen. It then explains how the primeval oceans were formed four billion years ago; where water is to be found on other planets; why ice floats when most solids sink; why, despite being highly corrosive, water is good for us; why there are at least fifteen kinds of ice and perhaps two kinds of liquid water; how scientists have consistently misunderstood water for centuries; and why wars have been waged over it. Philip Ball's gloriously offbeat and intelligent book conducts us on a journey through the history of science, folklore, the wilder scientific fringes, cutting-edge physics, biology and ecology, to give a fascinating new perspective on life and the substance that sustains it. After reading this book, drinking a glass of water will never be the same again.

    • Nature

Gaia

A New Look at Life on Earth
Author: James Lovelock,J. E. Lovelock
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN: 0192862189
Category: Nature
Page: 148
View: 5172
This classic work is now reissued in new covers with a new Preface by the author. Written for non-scientists, this is an original work in which James Lovelock puts forward his inspirational idea that life on earth functions as a single organism.

    • Religion

A God That Could Be Real

Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet
Author: Nancy Ellen Abrams
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 0807073407
Category: Religion
Page: 200
View: 8895
A paradigm-shifting blend of science, religion, and philosophy for agnostic, spiritual-but-not-religious, and scientifically minded readers Many people are fed up with the way traditional religion alienates them: too easily it can perpetuate conflict, vilify science, and undermine reason. Nancy Abrams, a philosopher of science, lawyer, and lifelong atheist, is among them. And yet, when she turned to the recovery community to face a personal struggle, she found that imagining a higher power gave her a new freedom. Intellectually, this was quite surprising. Meanwhile her husband, famed astrophysicist Joel Primack, was helping create a new theory of the universe based on dark matter and dark energy, and Abrams was collaborating with him on two books that put the new scientific picture into a social and political context. She wondered, “Could anything actually exist in this strange new universe that is worthy of the name ‘God?’” In A God That Could Be Real, Abrams explores a radically new way of thinking about God. She dismantles several common assumptions about God and shows why an omniscient, omnipotent God that created the universe and plans what happens is incompatible with science—but that this doesn’t preclude a God that can comfort and empower us. Moving away from traditional arguments for God, Abrams finds something worthy of the name “God” in the new science of emergence: just as a complex ant hill emerges from the collective behavior of individually clueless ants, and just as the global economy emerges from the interactions of billions of individuals’ choices, God, she argues, is an “emergent phenomenon” that arises from the staggering complexity of humanity’s collective aspirations and is in dialogue with every individual. This God did not create the universe—it created the meaning of the universe. It’s not universal—it’s planetary. It can’t change the world, but it helps us change the world. A God that could be real, Abrams shows us, is what humanity needs to inspire us to collectively cooperate to protect our warming planet and create a long-term civilization. From the Hardcover edition.