Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature

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Harvard University Press, Oct 1, 2002 - Science - 274 pages
5 Reviews

We are connected to distant space and time not only by our imaginations but also through a common cosmic heritage. Emerging now from modern science is a unified scenario of the cosmos, including ourselves as sentient beings, based on the time-honored concept of change. From galaxies to snowflakes, from stars and planets to life itself, we are beginning to identify an underlying ubiquitous pattern penetrating the fabric of all the natural sciences--a sweepingly encompassing view of the order and structure of every known class of object in our richly endowed universe.

This is the subject of Eric Chaisson's new book. In Cosmic Evolution Chaisson addresses some of the most basic issues we can contemplate: the origin of matter and the origin of life, and the ways matter, life, and radiation interact and change with time. Guided by notions of beauty and symmetry, by the search for simplicity and elegance, by the ambition to explain the widest range of phenomena with the fewest possible principles, Chaisson designs for us an expansive yet intricate model depicting the origin and evolution of all material structures. He shows us that neither new science nor appeals to nonscience are needed to understand the impressive hierarchy of the cosmic evolutionary story, from quark to quasar, from microbe to mind.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

A lightly quantitative, thermodynamics-oriented treatment of radiation, matter, life. Uses energy flow-rate density (ergs per second per gram) as a complexity measure for phenomena of all kinds and scales. Read full review

Review: Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature

User Review  - Mark Gomer - Goodreads

Five-star content, three-star presentation. Free energy rate density is clearly a very useful concept. Read full review

Contents

Overview of Cosmic Evolution
1
The Nature of Change
16
Matter
79
Radiation
101
Life
121
Evolution Broadly Considered
148
A Grand Synthesis
209
Symbols and Numerical Constants
227
Glossary
229
Notes
239
Works Cited
258
Further Reading
265
Index
271
About the Author
275
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Eric J. Chaisson is Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the H. Dudley Center for Innovative Science Education at Tufts University. He is the author of Cosmic Dawn, nominated for the National Book Award for distinguished science writing.

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