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Hailed by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet’s living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order. "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 "A fascinating story." -Bill McKibben
Big History is a new field on a grand scale: it tells the story of the universe over time through a diverse range of disciplines that spans cosmology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and archaeology, thereby reconciling traditional human history with environmental geography and natural history. Weaving the myriad threads of evidence-based human knowledge into a master narrative that stretches from the beginning of the universe to the present, the Big History framework helps students make sense of their studies in all disciplines by illuminating the structures that underlie the universe and the connections among them. Teaching Big History is a powerful analytic and pedagogical resource, and serves as a comprehensive guide for teaching Big History, as well for sharing ideas about the subject and planning a curriculum around it. Readers are also given helpful advice about the administrative and organizational challenges of instituting a general education program constructed around Big History. The book includes teaching materials, examples, and detailed sample exercises. This book is also an engaging first-hand account of how a group of professors built an entire Big History general education curriculum for first-year students, demonstrating how this thoughtful integration of disciplines exemplifies liberal education at its best and illustrating how teaching and learning this incredible story can be transformative for professors and students alike.
MILS-15 provides an up-to-date review of the metalloenzymes involved in the activation, production, and conversion of molecular oxygen as well as the functionalization of the chemically inert gases methane and ammonia. Found either in aerobes (humans, animals, plants, microorganisms) or in anaerobes (so-called “impossible bacteria”) these enzymes employ preferentially iron and copper at their active sites, in order to conserve energy by redox-driven proton pumps, to convert methane to methanol, or ammonia to hydroxylamine or other compounds. When it comes to the light-driven production of molecular oxygen, the tetranuclear manganese cluster of photosystem II must be regarded as the key player. However, dioxygen can also be produced in the dark, by heme iron-dependent dismutation of oxyanions. Metalloenzymes Mastering Dioxygen and Other Chewy Gases is a vibrant research area based mainly on structural and microbial biology, inorganic biological chemistry, and environmental biochemistry. All this is covered in an authoritative manner in 7 stimulating chapters, written by 21 internationally recognized experts, and supported by nearly 1100 references, informative tables, and over 140 illustrations (many in color). MILS-15 provides excellent information for teaching; it is also closely related to MILS-14, The Metal-Driven Biogeochemistry of Gaseous Compounds in the Environment. Peter M. H. Kroneck is a bioinorganic chemist who is exploring the role of transition metals in biology, with a focus on functional and structural aspects of microbial iron, copper, and molybdenum enzymes and their impact on the biogeochemical cyles of nitrogen and sulfur. Martha E. Sosa Torres is an inorganic chemist, with special interests in magnetic properties of newly synthesized transition metal complexes and their reactivity towards molecular oxygen, applying kinetic, electrochemical, and spectroscopic techniques.
Plate tectonics is a revolutionary theory on a par with modern genetics. Yet, apart from the frequent use of clichés such as 'tectonic shift' by economists, journalists, and politicians, the science itself is rarely mentioned and poorly understood. This book explains modern plate tectonics in a non-technical manner, showing not only how it accounts for phenomena such as great earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, but also how it controls conditions at the Earth's surface, including global geography and climate. The book presents the advances that have been made since the establishment of plate tectonics in the 1960s, highlighting, on the 50th anniversary of the theory, the contributions of a small number of scientists who have never been widely recognized for their discoveries. Beginning with the publication of a short article in Nature by Vine and Matthews, the book traces the development of plate tectonics through two generations of the theory. First generation plate tectonics covers the exciting scientific revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, its heroes and its villains. The second generation includes the rapid expansions in sonar, satellite, and seismic technologies during the 1980s and 1990s that provided a truly global view of the plates and their motions, and an appreciation of the role of the plates within the Earth 'system'. The final chapter bring us to the cutting edge of the science, and the latest results from studies using technologies such as seismic tomography and high-pressure mineral physics to probe the deep interior. Ultimately, the book leads to the startling conclusion that, without plate tectonics, the Earth would be as lifeless as Venus.
Living with the Stars tells the fascinating story of what truly makes the human body. The body that is with us all our lives is always changing. We are quite literally not who we were years, weeks, or even days ago: our cells die and are replaced by new ones at an astonishing pace. The entire body continually rebuilds itself, time and again, using the food and water that flow through us as fuel and as construction material. What persists over time is not fixed but merely a pattern in flux. We rebuild using elements captured from our surroundings, and are thereby connected to animals and plants around us, and to the bacteria within us that help digest them, and to geological processes such as continental drift and volcanism here on Earth. We are also intimately linked to the Sun's nuclear furnace and to the solar wind, to collisions with asteroids and to the cycles of the birth of stars and their deaths in cataclysmic supernovae, and ultimately to the beginning of the universe. Our bodies are made of the burned out embers of stars that were released into the galaxy in massive explosions billions of years ago, mixed with atoms that formed only recently as ultrafast rays slammed into Earth's atmosphere. All of that is not just remote history but part of us now: our human body is inseparable from nature all around us and intertwined with the history of the universe.
Extend the human story backward for the five thousand years of recorded history and it covers no more than a millionth of a lifetime of the Earth. Yet how do we humans take stock of the history of our planet, and our own place within it? A “vast historical mosaic” (Publishers Weekly) rendered engaging and accessible, Big History interweaves different disciplines of knowledge to offer an all-encompassing account of history on Earth. Since its publication, Cynthia Brown’s “world history on a grand scale” (Kirkus) has been translated into nine languages and has helped propel the “big history” concept to viral status. This new edition of Brown’s seminal work is more relevant today than ever before, as we increasingly must grapple with accelerating rates of change and, ultimately, the legacy we will bequeath to future generations. Here is a pathbreaking portrait of our world, from the birth of the universe from a single point the size of an atom to life on a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by 7 billion people.

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