Shubin's new book, said Lawrence M. Krauss, Director of the Origins Project and Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, tells the tale, "with great authority, accuracy and a wonderfully light touch, a grand synthesis that manages to incorporate forefront research in astronomy, geology, paleontology, and genetics."
Themes in "The Universe Within" are presented chronologically, beginning with the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, followed by the birth of stars about a million years later. Shubin then follows the story through the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the appearance of water on Earth 4.1 billion years ago, the emergence of life 3.5 billion years ago and the rapid and ongoing evolution since then of extraordinary diversity.
Shubin presents key aspects of this vast, multifaceted and potentially overwhelming cosmic history through personal tales of scientific exploration and discovery, including his own arctic adventures. He provides brief, anecdotal portraits of the brilliant but often quirky scientists who made the connections that have shaped our understanding of the world around us, as well as their struggles to convince colleagues.
Shubin pulls together data from geology, biochemistry and anatomy to help readers gain an appreciation for the wonders of how life works.
"The first 2.7 billions years of our history was entirely in water," he writes, "and its imprint is in every organ system in our bodies."
But the last 300 million years have been defined by how land animals, including humans, deal with separation from water. He describes how humans form three different kinds of kidneys while in the womb. The first and most primitive is like those seen in jawless fishes, the second
|Contact: John Easton|
University of Chicago Medical Center