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Places the twentieth century extraterrestrial life debate in historical perspective, covering a broad range of topics, ranging from the search for life in the solar system to the search for planetary systems, the origins of life, UFO's and aliens in science fiction.
List of illustrations; List of tables; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. From the physical world to the biological universe: Democritus to Lowell; 2. Life in the solar system; 3. Solar systems beyond; 4. Extraterrestrials in literature and the arts: the role of imagination; 5. The UFO controversy and the extraterrestrial hypothesis; 6. The origin and evolution of life in the extraterrestrial context; 7. SETI: the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; 8. The meaning of life; 9. Summary and conclusion: the biological universe; Select bibliographical essay; Index.
' ! an excellent reference to the subject with no undue bias.' Peter D. Mata, Spaceflight ' ! an important further contribution to understanding how science proceeds as a social as well as an intellectual activity. Recommended reading.' Richard Taylor, Spaceflight 'It is refreshing to read a balanced critique of any scientific controversy and it is to his great credit that Dick achieves this despite recent discoveries'. School Science Review '! full of stimulating ideas and entertaining stories.' Astronomy Now 'This provides an interesting vehicle for studying the history, philosophy and sociology associated with one of the most enduring questions in science: the possibility of extraterrestrial life ! an ideal reference book !'. School Science Review