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Life on other worlds and how to find it
The possibility of life elsewhere in the universe is one that fascinates many of us. In Life on other worlds and how to find it Stuart Clark provides a well written introduction to exobiology. The book is easy to read, but covers a considerable area of the subject. He starts with a chapter looking at the assumptions we need to make in order to give serious consideration to the question of life elsewhere. The next 4 chapters look at how life arose on earth, starting with the thermodynamics of the universe and moving on to the origin of the elements, and the evolution of DNA based life.
The last 5 chapters get on to exobiology itself, looking at the possibilities within the solar system as well as the search for exoplanets. Clark considers the nature of intelligence, and how we might communicate with intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe. The last chapter looks at the possibility of our being visited by such aliens. It's a lot to pack into a few chapters, and some readers might find that the book doesn't go into sufficient depth. I feel, however, that it is good that the book is accessible to non-technical audience and that more advanced readers will enjoy Clark's light hearted tone and find the book useful as an overview of the subject.