For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe, but in the last few years--as our probes begin to escape the solar system, and our telescopes reveal thousands of Earthlike planets--scientists have taken huge leaps toward an answer. Read more...
For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe, but in the last few years--as our probes begin to escape the solar system, and our telescopes reveal thousands of Earthlike planets--scientists have taken huge leaps toward an answer. "Forget science fiction," author Ben Miller writes. "We are living through one of the most extraordinary revolutions in the history of science: the emergent belief of a generation of physicists, biologists, and chemists that we are not alone."
The Aliens Are Coming is a refreshingly clear, hugely entertaining guide to the search for alien life. Miller looks everywhere for insight, from the Big Bang's sea of energy that somehow became living matter, to the equations that tell us Earth is not so rare, to the clues bacteria hold to how life started. And he makes the case that our growing understanding of life itself will help us predict whether it exists elsewhere, what it might look like, and when we might find it.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Miller (It’s Not Rocket Science), an English comedian and science writer, celebrates the human fascination with the search for extraterrestrial life and grounds it with equally fascinating science. The place to start studying aliens, Miller assures readers, is right here on Earth. Extremophiles—microorganisms that live in seemingly inimical environments such as inside rocks around deep-sea volcanic vents or frigid Antarctic lakes—show that life is “tenacious, commonplace, and infinitely adaptable.” Such strange life forms might even be as nearby as the icy oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa or the methane slush on Saturn’s moon Titan. Miller covers a lot of ground with humor and insight, addressing how scientists define life and how it evolved on Earth, and offering a short history of UFO sightings and scientists’ continued search for life-bearing exoplanets and signals from alien civilizations. Miller’s book is a lively and accessible blend of pop culture and science in which a Dire Straits encore explains the Drake Equation, the platypus introduces evolution, the second law of thermodynamics gets a workout, and readers meet Mazlan Othman, the UN’s official ambassador for Earth. Pop science readers will have fun with this energetic look at the hunt for alien life. Agent: Heather Holden-Brown, HHB (U.K.). (Oct.)