Meteorites are among the rarest objects on Earth, yet they have left a pervasive mark on our planet and civilization. Arriving amidst thunderous blasts and flame-streaked skies, meteorites were once thought to be messengers from the gods, embodiments of the divine. Prized for their outlandish qualities, meteorites are a collectible, a commodity, objects of art and artists' desires and a literary muse. 'Meteorite hunting' is an adventurous, lucrative profession for some, and an addictive hobby for thousands of others.
Meteorite: Nature and Culture is a unique, richly illustrated cultural history of these ancient and mysterious phenomena. Taking in a wide range of sources Maria Golia pays homage to the scientists, scholars and aficionados who have scoured the skies and combed the Earth's most unforgiving reaches for meteorites, contributing to a body of work that situates our planet and ourselves within the vastness of the Universe.
Appealing to collectors and hobbyists alike, as well as any lovers of nature, marvel and paradox, Meteorite: Nature and Culture offers an accessible overview of what science has learned from meteorites, beginning with the scientific community's reluctant embrace of their interplanetary origins, and explores their power to reawaken that precious, yet near-forgotten human trait – the capacity for awe.
"This is a beautifully written, well-researched book that looks at the science, history, and social aspect of meteorites. Here is the story of stones from space, and I recommend it to anyone interested in these fascinating bits of other worlds which have landed here on Earth."
– Christopher P. McKay, NASA Planetary Scientist
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Maria Golia is the author of Cairo: City of Sand (Reaktion Books, 2004) and Photography and Egypt (Reaktion Books, 2009). Living in Egypt, she is a fellow of the London-based Institute of Ecotechnics and writes about historical and contemporary issues related to urban, social and outer space.