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Academic & Professional Books  Reference  Physical Sciences  Popular Science

Great Moments in the History of Life

Popular Science New
By: George H Shaw(Author)
118 pages, 10 colour & 3 b/w illustrations
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Great Moments in the History of Life
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  • Great Moments in the History of Life ISBN: 9783319992167 Hardback Dec 2018 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

A non-technical (but serious) treatment of those parts of Earth history leading up to human history, as well as some pre-historical aspects of humanity. Many "events" in Earth's history necessarily preceded the emergence of human beings (and intelligence). Geology has provided us with a great deal of information about these various steps on the way to intelligent life, and how and why they were important. Some of these events were on a cosmic scale (no universe – no life!), some were planetological/astronomical (no Earth – no life), some were essentially chemical (how did life emerge in the primordial ocean and why do we have oxygen in the atmosphere?), and some were details of evolutionary history (how did life colonize the land and how did mammals develop?). In Great Moments in the History of Life an enthusiastic professor of geosciences presents a broad introduction from the Big Bang to the present and into the future, lucidly explaining aspects from various disciplines to interested, non-specialist readers.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. In the beginning... and somewhat later
Chapter 3. How to make a habitable planet
Chapter 4. Prebiotic chemical synthesis
Chapter 5. The origin of life
Chapter 6. Interlude
Chapter 7. Photosynthesis - the game changer
Chapter 8. The rise of oxygen and the origin of the eukaryotic cell
Chapter 9. Earliest plants and animals
Chapter 10. The Cambrian explosion and emergence of "modern" body plans
Chapter 11. The end of the Ordovician and the colonization of the land
Chapter 12. The Permian extinction and the rise of the dinosaurs
Chapter 13. End of Cretaceous extinction - the end of the dinosaurs
Chapter 14. The rise of mammals, the Genus Homo, and the ongoing extinction event
Chapter 15. Conclusion

Customer Reviews


George Shaw has had a career as a professor of geosciences and focused on geophysics, especially high-pressure measurements of elastic properties. He taught at University of Minnesota (14 years; Minneapolis, MN) and Union College (Schenectady, NY), as well as being awarded an NSF post-doctoral fellowship at Edinburgh, Scotland, and American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellowship. Dr Shaw worked for a congressman from Washington State, on energy and environmental issues, and particularly on the formulation and passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. At Minnesota Shaw developed with a colleague a course in energy resources and policy, which he taught for about ten years and which he continued to teach at Union. About fifteen years ago he initiated a course called "Great Moments in the History of Life", starting with the origin of the universe and chemical elements and continuing through the Anthropocene. This revived an old interest in early Earth history and especially the conditions preceding and surrounding the origin of life. This book is the result of that revived interest.

Popular Science New
By: George H Shaw(Author)
118 pages, 10 colour & 3 b/w illustrations
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
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