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Steven J. Dick - Author

About the Author

Books by Steven J. Dick

Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact

Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/09/2020

The search for life in the universe, once the stuff of science fiction, is now a robust worldwide research program with a well-defined roadmap probing both scientific and societal issues. This volume examines the humanistic aspects of astrobiology, systematically discussing the approaches, critical issues, and implications of discovering life beyond Earth. What do the concepts of life and intelligence, culture and civilization, technology and communication mean in a cosmic context? What are the theological and philosophical implications if we find life - and if we do not? Steven J. Dick argues that given recent scientific findings, the discovery of life in some form beyond Earth is likely and so we need to study the possible impacts of such a discovery and formulate policies to deal with them. The remarkable and often surprising results are presented here in a form accessible to disciplines across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

The Living Universe

The Living Universe

Author: Steven J. Dick, James E. Strick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/09/2020

The Living Universe is a comprehensive, historically nuanced study of the formation of the new scientific discipline of exobiology and its transformation into astrobiology. The authors explain how research on the origin of life became wedded to the search for life on other planets and for extraterrestrial intelligence. Many scientific breakthroughs of the last forty years were either directly supported or indirectly spun off from NASA's exobiology program, including cell symbiosis, the discovery of the Archaea, and the theories of Nuclear Winter and the asteroid extinction of the dinosaurs. Exobiology and astrobiology have generated public fascination, enormous public relations benefits for NASA, and--the flip side of the coin--some of the most heated political wrangling ever seen in government science funding. Dick and Strick provide a riveting overview of the search for life throughout the universe, with all of the Earthly complexities of a science-in-the-making and the imperfect humans called scientists. Their book is the first to include oral history interviews with all of the primary participants from 1953 to the present. It will appeal to biologists, historians and philosophers of science, planetary scientists (including geologists), and an educated general readership interested in the investigation of life on other planets.

Space, Time, and Aliens

Space, Time, and Aliens

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2020

In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary volume, former NASA Chief Historian Steven Dick reflects on the exploration of space, astrobiology and its implications, cosmic evolution, astronomical institutions, discovering and classifying the cosmos, and the philosophy of astronomy. The unifying theme of the book is the connection between cosmos and culture, or what Carl Sagan many years ago called the cosmic connection. As both an astronomer and historian of science, Dr. Dick has been both a witness to and a participant in many of the astronomical events of the last half century. This collection of papers presents his reflections over the last forty years in a way accessible to historians, philosophers, and scientists alike. From the search for alien life to ongoing space exploration efforts, readers will find this volume full of engaging topics relevant to science, society, and our collective future on planet Earth and beyond.

Classifying the Cosmos

Classifying the Cosmos

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2019

Since the invention of the telescope 400 years ago, astronomers have rapidly discovered countless celestial objects. But how does one make sense of it all? Astronomer and former NASA Chief Historian Steven J. Dick brings order to this menagerie by defining 82 classes of astronomical objects, which he places in a beginner-friendly system known as Astronomy's Three Kingdoms. Rather than concentrating on technicalities, this system focuses on the history of each object, the nature of its discovery, and our current knowledge about it. The ensuing book can therefore be read on at least two levels. On one level, it is an illustrated guide to various types of astronomical wonders. On another level, it is considerably more: the first comprehensive classification system to cover all celestial objects in a consistent manner. Accompanying each spread are spectacular historical and modern images. The result is a pedagogical tour-de-force, whereby readers can easily master astronomy's three realms of planets, stars, and galaxies.

Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact

Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2018

The search for life in the universe, once the stuff of science fiction, is now a robust worldwide research program with a well-defined roadmap probing both scientific and societal issues. This volume examines the humanistic aspects of astrobiology, systematically discussing the approaches, critical issues, and implications of discovering life beyond Earth. What do the concepts of life and intelligence, culture and civilization, technology and communication mean in a cosmic context? What are the theological and philosophical implications if we find life - and if we do not? Steven J. Dick argues that given recent scientific findings, the discovery of life in some form beyond Earth is likely and so we need to study the possible impacts of such a discovery and formulate policies to deal with them. The remarkable and often surprising results are presented here in a form accessible to disciplines across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Discovery and Classification in Astronomy

Discovery and Classification in Astronomy

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/09/2013

Astronomical discovery involves more than detecting something previously unseen. The reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006, and the controversy it generated, shows that discovery is a complex and ongoing process - one comprising various stages of research, interpretation and understanding. Ranging from Galileo's observation of Jupiter's satellites, Saturn's rings and star clusters, to Herschel's nebulae and the modern discovery of quasars and pulsars, Steven J. Dick's comprehensive history identifies the concept of 'extended discovery' as the engine of progress in astronomy. The text traces more than 400 years of telescopic observation, exploring how the signal discoveries of new astronomical objects relate to and inform one another, and why controversies such as Pluto's reclassification are commonplace in the field. The volume is complete with a detailed classification system for known classes of astronomical objects, offering students, researchers and amateur observers a valuable reference and guide.

Life on Other Worlds

Life on Other Worlds

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/03/2001

The recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and possible microfossils in Martian meteorite ALH 84001 are only the latest developments in a debate that spans millennia, and that has been especially heated in the twentieth century. From the furore over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars at the beginning of the century to the biological experiments of the Viking spacecraft, the controversial 'Mars rock', and the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) at its end, otherworldly life has often titillated and occasionally consumed science and the public. So too have crucially related areas such as the search for planetary systems, the quest for an explanation of UFOs, and inquiries into the origin of life. The theme has been elaborated in science fiction from H. G. Wells to Arthur C. Clarke, and resulted in some of the most popular films of all time, including ET, Aliens, Independence Day, and Contact. Life on Other Worlds details in a readable and non-technical manner the history of the twentieth century extraterrestrial life debate, one of the pervasive themes of our century.

Life on Other Worlds

Life on Other Worlds

Author: Steven J. Dick Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/12/1998

The recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and possible microfossils in Martian meteorite ALH 84001 are only the latest developments in a debate that spans millennia, and that has been especially heated in the twentieth century. From the furore over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars at the beginning of the century to the biological experiments of the Viking spacecraft, the controversial 'Mars rock', and the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) at its end, otherworldly life has often titillated and occasionally consumed science and the public. So too have crucially related areas such as the search for planetary systems, the quest for an explanation of UFOs, and inquiries into the origin of life. The theme has been elaborated in science fiction from H. G. Wells to Arthur C. Clarke, and resulted in some of the most popular films of all time, including ET, Aliens, Independence Day, and Contact. Life on Other Worlds details in a readable and non-technical manner the history of the twentieth century extraterrestrial life debate, one of the pervasive themes of our century.