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What is life? Crystals, software, hardware and mices. From the Big-Bang to the origin of life.

Interview in ‘Talking about life: conversations on Astrobiology’

Stellar evolution. Interstellar chemistry. Origin of organic molecules. Basic requirements for life and possible alternate options 5. The solar system.

Planet formation. Chemistry in the solar nebula. The origin and evolution of life on Earth.

The discovery of sex. Catastrophic impacts. The selfish gen and other theories. The tree of life.

Astrobiology Magazine

Life in extreme conditions: extremophiles. What are the prospects for life on other planetary bodies in our Solar System? Posted on Mar 27, in Book reviews 0 comments.

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  • About this book!

Astrobiology is still a young and growing science. For the first time, scientists and philosophers alike are able to chart the development of the field in real-time.

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The book features 37 interviews from disparate personalities: from the current president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, to prodigious science fiction writer Ben Bova. The interviews are each around ten pages long and are sparsely illustrated.

Interview in ‘Talking about life: conversations on Astrobiology’ | ASU Cosmos

They are divided into five principal sections: Introduction; Earth; Solar System; Exoplanets; and Frontiers — to address the major themes in modern astrobiological research. Each interview was prefaced by a detailed biography of the interviewee, much of which was then repeated in the course of the interview itself.

A more concise summary of what each interviewee specialises in and the broad subject of their interview would have been a more informative introduction and would have made for a more enjoyable read. In this vein, while the idea of a more or less unedited conversation is a laudable one, often a lack of context or clear direction for the interview resulted in rambling themes that were difficult to follow.

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In some cases however, it was not clear why a particular interviewee had been chosen until some considerable way into their conversation, if at all. Again, some context or more transparent rationale for the selections would have been more helpful. Who is this book for?