Here is a (quite incomplete) list of useful books for the Freshman Seminar,
Search for Life in the Universe. I will no doubt be supplementing
this list throughout the semester, as I stumble across new books. And
feel free to suggest additions to this list! Many of these are
available on reserve at Firestone, or at the Astrophysics Library in
Peyton Hall. The latter includes, in addition, a number of more
technical books on the subject, which we may find useful.
"The Search for Life in the Universe", 3rd edition, D. Goldsmith,
and T. Owen (2001, University Science Books) A text on exactly the
subject of this course. Required text.
"The Emergence of Life on Earth", Iris Fry (2001, Rutgers
University Press) A history of ideas relating to the origin of
life, and a summary of current models. Required text.
"The Cosmic Perspective", by Bennett et al (2003) A good
non-technical introductory general astronomy textbook (often used as
the textbook for AST 203, the introductory astronomy course for
non-scientists). There are *many* introductory astronomy textbooks
on the market, and most are quite similar to one another.
"Astrobiology: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach" (2003,
Addison-Wesley), a brand-new book at a rather more advanced level.
It seems excellent.
"The Physical Universe, An Introduction to Astronomy", F. Shu,
(1980, University Science Books): A more advanced introductory
astronomy textbook than Bennett et al; it requires a stronger
mathematical background. It ends with a superb discussion of
the origin and evolution of life on Earth. It is often used
as the texbook for AST204, the introductory astronomy course
for astronomy and physics majors.
"Intelligent Life in the Universe", P. Ulmschneider (2003,
Springer-Verlag): A brief textbook at a somewhat more advanced
level than Goldsmith and Owen
"Search for life on other planets". Bruce Jakosky (1998, Cambridge
University Press). Another textbook
"Life in the Universe", Bennett, Shostak, and Jakosky (2003,
Addison-Wesley). Another textbook, quite elementary.
"Origins of Life", David Deamer and G. Fleischaker (1994, Jones and
Bartlett), A compilation of reprints of articles about the origin of life.
J. William Schopf, 'Life's Origin' (2002). A collection of
essays, with heavy emphasis on the biochemistry.
Julian Chela-Flores: The New Science of Astrobiology (2001).
Brief. Emphasis on the biology and the philosophy.
Paul F. Lurquin: The origins of life and the universe (2003).
Brief. Good emphasis on biochemistry of life.
Julian Chela-Flores et al (editors): Astrobiology: Origins from the
Big-Bang to Civilisation (1999).
A collection of mostly advanced essays.
Pale Blue Dot (1995, Random House)
Sagan's view of the need to explore our solar system.
We are Not Alone (1994, Plume)
An entertaining introduction to the SETI program.
The Case for Mars (1996, Touchstone Books)
Presents a compelling way to send manned spacecraft to Mars
Rare Earth (2000, Springer-Verlag)
Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee
Claims that complex life may be very rare in the universe; the
conditions that gave rise to complex life on Earth may be quite
rare. V. provacative, and fascinating to argue about.
Life Everywhere: the maverick science of astrobiology, by D. Darling,
Basic Books. This is largely a response to the Rare Earth book.
The Story of Life (2003, Oxford)
Not much on life's origins, but a good overview of the sweep of
"Extraterrestrial Intelligence", Heidemann (1995, translated from
the French). A textbook that covers similar material to Goldsmith and
Owen, with more emphasis on SETI. Now quite dated.
"The Origin and Evolution of the Universe", edited by Ben Zuckerman
and Matthew Malkan (1996; Jones and Bartlett). Chapter 6, "The Origin
and Evolution of Life in the Universe", is very relevant.
"Intelligent Life in the Universe", by C. Sagan and I.S. Shklovskii
(1966; Holden-Day) A classic textbook, now quite out of date
"The Biological Universe", by S. Dick (1996, Cambridge U. Press)
The history of ideas about extraterrestrial life
"Is Anyone Out There?", by F. Drake and D. Sobel (1992, Delacourt
Press) An informal autobiography/history of SETI.
"Cosmos", C. Sagan (1980, Random House) A popular-level account of
modern astronomy and astrophysics, starting to show its age.
"The Mind's Sky", T. Ferris (1992, Bantam books)
"The Cosmic Water Hole", E. Davoust, (1991, MIT Press).
"Extraterrestrial Life", N. Evans (1996, Burgess) Course notes from
a similar course taught at U. Texas. A more thorough
discussion of the origin of life than we will cover in our
course. The appendix to this book lists a number of further
references, including many about the origin of life.
I don't think the libraries have this text, but I do.
"The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life", ed. D. Goldsmith (1980)
Excellent set of reprints of classic articles.
"To Utopia and Back: The Search for Life in the Solar System",
Norman Horowitz (1986; Freeman). Introductory chapter is superb.
"Are we Alone?", Paul Davies (1995): Philosophical questions
related to the search for life.
"After Contact: The Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life"
A. Harrison (1997). A history of SETI and related ideas.
"Quest for Alien Planets: Exploring Worlds Outside the Solar
System", P. Halpern (1997). Solar System astronomy, search for
distant planets, SETI.
"Life in the Universe" Scientific American Special Issue (October
1994), discussing everything from the origin of the universe
to the future of intelligence on Earth.
"Contact", Carl Sagan. An excellent novel (which gets most of the
astronomy right!) emphasizing mankind's reponse to a signal
from an extraterrestrial civilization.
bibliography put together by the SETI Institute.
Many useful articles on the subject of this course can be found in
the pages of various popular science magazines, including:
Sky and Telescope