The Copernicus Complex
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The Copernicus Complex : The Quest for Our Cosmic (In)Significance

3.93 (440 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A thrilling journey through the recent discoveries in astronomy that point to our cosmic significance

In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist and author Caleb Scharf takes us on a cosmic adventure like no other, asserting that the age-old Copernican principle is in need of updating. When Copernicus proposed that the Earth was not the fixed point at the center of the known universe (and therefore we are not unique), he set in motion a colossal scientific juggernaut, forever changing our vision of nature. But the principle, Scharf argues, has never been entirely true-we do live at a particular time, in a particular location, under particular circumstances. By bringing together the latest discoveries in cutting-edge astronomy, Scharf shows how many aspects of our cosmic home are genuinely unique, and reveals what it means for our quest to determine whether we are alone in the universe.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 213g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141974931
  • 9780141974934
  • 502,465

Review Text

Mind-blowing stuff . . . An original and gripping look at the universe and our place in it . . . I am pleased to report that this book, which aims to show us our place in the grand scheme of things, will not make you lose your marbles. However it may, to use the parlance of a bygone era, blow your mind a bit. In one four-page period, my marginal notes went from "!" to "!!" to "!!!" . . . A mind-expanding book . . . You won't be quite the same after reading it Nicholas Lezard Guardian
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Review quote

Mind-blowing stuff . . . An original and gripping look at the universe and our place in it . . . I am pleased to report that this book, which aims to show us our place in the grand scheme of things, will not make you lose your marbles. However it may, to use the parlance of a bygone era, blow your mind a bit. In one four-page period, my marginal notes went from "!" to "!!" to "!!!" . . . A mind-expanding book . . . You won't be quite the same after reading it -- Nicholas Lezard * Guardian * The Copernicus Complex delivers its argument with comparable clarity, insight and humour. There is much to enjoy along the way, including a compelling account of the extraordinary diversity of planetary systems we now know to exist * Telegraph * The Copernicus Complex addresses a perennial mystery: the cosmic significance (or perhaps the insignificance) of life on Earth. Caleb Scharf summarizes current debates on how life began and how pervasive it is, explaining how our perspective has been changed by the recent discovery that there are millions of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way. He sets his theme in a historical context, writing in an engaging and accessible style -- Sir Martin Rees, author of Just Six Numbers and From Here to Infinity A tantalising approach to the mysteries of the universe -- Peter Forbes * Independent * [A] witty, adroitly marshalled treatise on human significance -- Robin McKie * Observer * An intoxicating collection of questions answered with other questions, and startling discoveries that make creation even more mysterious . . . Books such as these remind us that we are lucky to be here at all, and even luckier to be here now * Guardian * How reasonable is it to think that we are alone in the vast expanses of space? And how significant is life on Earth on the Universal (or multiversal) scale? These are the questions that astrobiologist Caleb Scharf addresses intelligently and comprehensively in his beautifully written The Copernicus Complex * Nature *
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About Caleb Scharf

Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's Astrobiology Center and the author of Gravity's Engines. He has written for New Scientist, Science and Nature, and appeared on BBC's Horizon. He received his PhD from Cambridge University, and now lives in New York City.
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Rating details

440 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 29% (129)
4 42% (183)
3 24% (106)
2 4% (16)
1 1% (6)
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