Symphony in C

Symphony in C : Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything

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An enchanting biography of the most resonant - and most necessary - chemical element on Earth.

Carbon. It is the building block of every cell that makes up every living thing. It is the essential component of the food we eat, the fuel we burn, the wood we use and the air we breathe. It is worth billions as a luxury and half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries to be solved about the element that can be both diamond and coal. Where does it come from, what does it do, and why, above all, does life need it?

In Symphony in C, leading carbon scientist Robert M. Hazen takes us on a vibrant journey through the origin and evolution of life's most widespread element. The story unfolds in four movements - Earth, Air, Fire and Water - and transports us through nearly 14 billion years of cosmic history, explaining how carbon is formed in the hearts of stars and why all life forms - earthbound or alien - use it as the basis of their biology. Symphony in C is a sweeping chronicle of carbon from its birth amidst the stars to its unknowable life cycle deep within the Earth's core and its role in the evolution of all life in the universe.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 159 x 240 x 28mm | 520g
  • William Collins
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • edition
  • 0008292388
  • 9780008292386
  • 24,706

Review quote

Praise for Robert Hazen
`Dr Hazen writes with wonderful clarity about science.' New York Times

`A sweeping rip-roaring yarn of immense scope, from the birth of the elements in the stars to meditations on the future habitability of our world.' Science

`Hazen has a gift for explaining science in lay terms, and even readers with a minimal understanding of geology, chemistry and physics will find this book riveting.' Library Journal

`Hazen writes in a down-to-earth, jargon-free style ... His engaging, poetic writing... made science fun.' Bookmunch
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About Robert M. Hazen

Robert M. Hazen is Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory and Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences at George Mason University. He received the BS and SM in geology at MIT, his PhD at Harvard University in Earth science and was NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University. The biomineral `hazenite' was named in his honour.
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