151 pages, 22 b/w illustrations
For many thousands of years, human beings have been asking themselves whether they are more frightened of being alone in the universe or of the thought that there is someone else out there. Over the past few decades, however, we have moved from imagination to action, exploring the cosmos using new techniques, often with surprising results. Numerous fascinating but little known facts have emerged – for example, that every year many rocks from Mars fall on the Earth, that one of our amino acids has been found in the coma of a comet, and that some of the known thousands of extrasolar planets are similar to our own.
There are further exciting and important discoveries around the corner that will cast more light on the great enigma of how life started on Earth. In this intriguing book, one of the World's leading researchers in astrophysics and space science examines fundamental questions concerning life on Earth and the rest of the cosmos in an accessible and stimulating way.
- Overture: Man vs. The Universe : the Match
- Let's build the Universe - light and matter
- Let's build the rest of the Universe
- Astronomy in search of alien
- Contact astronomy: the Universe invading us
- Contact astronomy: we, the invaders
- Contact astronomy: comets and their dust
- Building from bricks: what is life?
- Anyone out there?
- Coda: What remains to be discovered?
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Professor Giovanni Fabrizio BIGNAMI is a physicist and astronomer. Over the last 40 years he has carried out research in astronomy, from the ground and from space. A professor of astrophysics at IUSS, Pavia, he has been President of the Italian Space Agency and is now the President of COSPAR, the world-wide Committee on Space Research. He is President of The National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and has received various awards, including the Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Blaise Pascal Medal of the European Academy of Sciences and the von Karman Award of the International Astronautics Academy. Professor Bignami is one of the most authoritative scientists in astrophysical and space research and identified the neutron star "Geminga."