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The Universe Within : The Deep History of the Human Body
by Neil Shubin

Overview -

**"Kirkus" Best Books of the Year (2013)**
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?  Read more...


 
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More About The Universe Within by Neil Shubin
 
 
 
Overview

**"Kirkus" Best Books of the Year (2013)**
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.
"WITH BLACK-AND-WHITE LINE DRAWINGS THROUGHOUT
"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307378439
  • ISBN-10: 0307378438
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: January 2013
  • Page Count: 240


Related Categories

Books > Science > Cosmology
Books > Science > Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology
Books > Science > Life Sciences - Evolution

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-10-08
  • Reviewer: Staff

University of Chicago paleontologist Shubin wrote about the fishy origins of humanity in 2009’s Your Inner Fish. In his new book, he goes farther back and further out, explaining how humans bear the markings of cosmic phenomena; as he puts it, “Written inside us is the birth of the stars.” Here, the author surveys everything from glints in “Greenlandic rocks” to the spreading signs of supernovae to reveal “deep ties to the forces that shaped our bodies.” He demonstrates how mammals owe their “high-energy lifestyle” to oxygen released hundreds of millions of years ago as continents spread apart, and how color vision arose after continental drift cooled the planet, diversified flora, and resulted in biological competition that favored those organisms who could identify nutritious plants according to hue (“Every time you admire a richly colorful view, you can thank India for slamming into Asia”). Shubin is a leading proponent of the fusion of paleontology, developmental genetics, and genomics, and the result of his efforts is a volume of truly inspired science writing. Appropriately vast in scope, Shubin deftly balances breadth and depth in his search for a “sublimely beautiful truth.” Photos & illus. Agent: Katinka Matson, John Brockman, Max Brockman, and Russell Weinberger, Brockman Inc. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Made of star stuff

The biblical passage, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return,” is a poignant reminder of our fragile place in the world. It also reminds us how deeply we are connected to the earth, the water, the air and to the other creatures who roam the land. Neil Shubin’s The Universe Within is a further reminder of this critical relationship.

At a time when we pay increasing attention to the effects of our actions on the planet, The Universe Within also reveals how the universe has had a huge impact on the development of the human race. For example, many scientists believe that our universe was created by the Big Bang. Shubin writes that atoms from the Big Bang can be found in our air, our water and inside of us, as a sort of recycling process for the ages. “The particles that make us,” Shubin writes, “have traveled billions of years across the universe; long after we and our planet are gone, they will be a part of other worlds.”

Once Shubin establishes his thesis that we humans and our universe are made of the same tiny particles, it’s easy to accept his arguments for how we are connected in other ways. Consider that humans are made up mostly of water, which also covers most of our earth; or look at Shubin’s illustration of the strong likenesses even among wildly diverse creatures, such as the strikingly similar shapes of the leg bones of an elephant and a mouse.

The Universe Within gives us an appreciation of how we are just small specks and small moments in time. But it also challenges us to take steps to protect our environment so our world can last a little longer.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

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