Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.
With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s passion for the ground beneath our feet, Hazen explains how changes on an atomic level translate into dramatic shifts in Earth’s makeup over its 4.567 billion year existence. He calls upon a flurry of recent discoveries to portray our planet’s many iterations in vivid detail - from its fast-rotating infancy when the Sun rose every 5 hours and the Moon filled 250 times more sky than it does now, to its sea-bathed youth, before the first continents arose; from the Great Oxidation Event that turned the land red, to the globe-altering volcanism that may have been the true killer of the dinosaurs. Through Hazen’s theory of “co-evolution,” we learn how reactions between organic molecules and rock crystals may have generated Earth’s first organisms, which in turn are responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties on the planet - thousands of different kinds of crystals that could not exist in a nonliving world.
The Story of Earth is also the story of the pioneering men and women behind the sciences. Listeners will meet black-market meteorite hawkers of the Sahara Desert, the gun-toting Feds who guarded the Apollo missions’ lunar dust, and the World War II Navy officer whose super-pressurized “bomb” - recycled from military hardware - first simulated the molten rock of Earth’s mantle. As a mentor to a new generation of scientists, Hazen introduces the intrepid young explorers whose dispatches from Earth’s harshest landscapes will revolutionize geology.
Celebrated by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” Hazen proves a brilliant and entertaining guide on this grand tour of our planet inside and out. Lucid, controversial, and intellectually bracing, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.
©2012 Robert M. Hazen (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC
“A fascinating new theory on the Earth’s origins written in a sparkling style with many personal touches. . . . Hazen offers startling evidence that ‘Earth’s living and nonliving spheres’ have co-evolved over the past four billion years.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
There are many theories about the origin and fate of earth. They range from religion to science to science fiction. Robert Hazen’s theory revolves around minerals, time, and Darwinism.
The nature and history of earth suggest yesterday, today, or tomorrow may be the beginning of the end for human life. Hazen suggests, as long as space-ship-earth is humanity’s only safe harbor, human survival is probabilistic.
contained a lot of good information; covered a wide range of topics relating to earth history and the history of the universe. actually gave a pretty good treatment of dark matter, as i recall. did not have a lot of unnecessary fluff. good listen.
Geology and Earth Science is usually made to be boring in schools. I hadn't realized how wrong that is until I listened to this book. the story of our planet is pretty dam exciting and interesting. It just took a professor with passion and story telling ability to show me that. Bravo!
While the information was interesting enough, the narration sounded computer generated. I nearly fell asleep a few times. It would also have been helpful when the reader was reading a section title that he state it as such.
I found the book to be well written and well read. As a professional geologist I found that I even learned a few things. I highly recommend it.
I slept through high school geology. If this book had been the text, I would have listened in rapt attention
Very thorough was more technical than I thought from a geological pov, overall very interesting though. It gives a very deep view of risk and life symbiosis
I am ambivalent about this book. As it turns out, it was much more in depth science than I was in the mood for. Not that that's bad, it robustly covered every branch of physical science as it came into play- everything from astrophysics and geology to chemistry and microbiology... The author did include some "attention keepers" and amusing anecdotes peppered throughout, but if the subject matter isn't your cup of tea, it is not worth the read.
If you are not opposed to discussions that get down into the chemical makeup of obscure minerals and the theories on evolution of early microbes, then by all means give this a shot. Proportionally, my interests were in the first and final thirds on the genesis and most recent history of the planet. Even during those though, I still found myself zoning out and having to backtrack.
I nodded off not once, but twice during his chapter on the plate tectonics, something which, though being a little dry, I studied with interest in high school, and certainly it had never put me to sleep before. The mood picked up when he finally hit the Cambrian period and the trilobites (clearly a passion of his). Unfortunately he lost me entirely in the final chapter and epilogue when he digressed from the future of the planet into environmentalist preaching... say what you will about the climate change debate, that is not what I wanted to hear about here.
The narrator was adequate but not at all engaging. I gave it three stars across the board because I neither liked it nor disliked it. Maybe if I'm more in the mood for mineralogical history some day in the future, this will be worth revisiting.
Anyway, a solid nonfiction book, trove of wide ranging science on all things Earth, and worth it if you can keep focused on it.
It's hard to believe that a step on to any natural surface of any area I ever go again ...it will not be the same with the knowledge I have recieved from this book, of what is under my feet.
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