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Astrobiology is an expanding, interdisciplinary field investigating the origin, evolution and future of life in the universe. Tackling many of the foundational debates of the subject, from discussions of cosmological evolution to detailed reviews of common concepts such as the 'Rare Earth' hypothesis, The Astrobiological Landscape is the first systematic survey of the philosophical aspects and conundrums in the study of cosmic life. The author's exploration of the increasing number of cross-over problems highlights the relationship between astrobiology and cosmology and presents some of the challenges of multidisciplinary study. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add a further dimension to the debate. With a selection of beautifully presented illustrations and a strong emphasis on constructing a unified methodology across disciplines, The Astrobiological Landscape will appeal to graduate students and specialists who seek to rectify the fragmented nature of current astrobiological endeavour, as well as curious astrophysicists, biologists and SETI enthusiasts.
1. Astrobiology: the colour out of space?
2. Cosmology, life, and duration of the past
3. Cosmology, life, and selection effects
4. Cosmology, life, and the archipelago
5. Astrobiology as a natural extension of Darwinism
6. Rare Earths and the continuity thesis
7. SETI and its discontents
8. Natural and artificial: cosmic domain of Arnheim
9. Astrobiology as the neo-Copernican synthesis?
Milan M. Ćirković is a research professor at the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade, (Serbia) and a research associate of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. He received his PhD in Physics from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, his MS in Earth and Space Sciences from the same university, and his BSc in Theoretical Physics from the University of Belgrade. His primary research interests are in the fields of astrobiology (Galactic Habitable Zone, anthropic principles, SETI studies, catastrophic episodes in the history of life), astrophysical cosmology (baryonic dark matter, future of the universe) and philosophy of science (future studies, risk analysis, observation selection effects, epistemology). He co-edited the anthology Global Catastrophic Risks (2008), is the author of two other monographs, has written about 200 research and professional papers and has translated several books, including titles by Richard P. Feynman and Sir Roger Penrose.
"This book is not merely a review of past and present astrobiological and cosmological endeavours, but a critical discourse of various key scientific publications, theories and methodologies [...] This volume provides an excellent survey of and discourse on astrobiological concepts [...] this biologist with her limited cosmology understanding found the book enlightening."
- Laura Kelly, Astrobiology Society of Britain Newsletter
"[...] written in a language and at a level that is accessible to other astronomers and astrobiologists [...] Best of all, the book ends with twenty pages of notes and twenty-one pages of references. Just for this wonderfully comprehensive bibliography of the philosophy of astrobiology, this book deserves to be on the shelf of any astrobiologist's library."
- Guy Consolmagno, Meteoritics and Planetary Science