Cover image for Origins of existence : how life emerged in the universe
Origins of existence : how life emerged in the universe
Adams, Fred, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
266 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH325 .A278 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In his groundbreaking first book, "Five Ages of the Universe, " Adams established the five eras of the universe from birth to demise. Now, he gives readers a stunning new perspective on how the laws of physics created a nonrandom universe and life itself. Illustrations.

Author Notes

Fred Adams is a professor of physics at the University of Michigan.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his second book, University of Michigan physics professor Adams tells the earth's history, beginning with the emergence of our planetary biosphere from the primordial stew. While he believes that the guiding hand of physics shapes galaxies, stars and planets, and also brought about the emergence of life on earth, Adams contends that chaos and chance play a role in the cosmic ballet (he theorizes that the earth's moon is the byproduct of a cataclysmic accident). Adams tackled the complete biography of the cosmos in The Five Ages of the Universe (with Greg Laughlin) and continues here, focusing on the idea that life didn't evolve in a pond as the Victorian evolutionists first believed, but instead took root in the fiery furnaces beneath the earth's crust, the true Garden of Eden for heat-loving microbes. Where else on an evolving planet constantly buffeted by galactic debris could nascent life organize itself in relative peace and quiet? Adams sets up his narrative on the epochal scale before delivering, in one of the last chapters, on what his subtitle promises. There he discusses extraterrestrial life and parallel universes-those ruled by different physical laws. In the end, the author presents an engaging grand tour of galactic space-time. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Chapter 0 Beginningsp. 1
Chapter 1 Physicsp. 6
Chapter 2 Universesp. 37
Chapter 3 Galaxiesp. 67
Chapter 4 Starsp. 93
Chapter 5 Planetsp. 124
Chapter 6 Lifep. 158
Chapter 7 Reflectionsp. 190
Glossaryp. 223
Notesp. 233
References and Further Readingp. 239
Acknowledgmentsp. 249
Indexp. 251