Planet Hunters

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Lucas Ellerbroek

Planet Hunters

Lucas Ellerbroek

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Translated by Andy Brown
248 pages | 3 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $27.00 ISBN: 9781780238142 Published October 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Astronomers are on the verge of answering one of our most profound questions: are we alone in the universe? The ability to detect life in remote solar systems is at last within sight, and its discovery—even if only in microbial form—would revolutionize our self-image. Planet Hunters is the rollicking tale of the search for extraterrestrial life and the history of an academic discipline.

Astronomer Lucas Ellerbroek takes readers on a fantastic voyage through space, time, history, and even to the future as he describes the field of exoplanet research, from the early ideas of sixteenth-century heretic Giordano Bruno to the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995 to the invention of the Kepler Space Telescope. We join him on his travels as he meets with leading scientists in the field, including Michel Mayor, who discovered the first exoplanet, and Bill Borucki, principal investigator for NASA’s Kepler mission. Taken together, the experiences, passion, and perseverance of the scientists featured here make the book an exciting and compelling read.

Presenting cutting-edge research in a dynamic and accessible way, Planet Hunters is a refreshing look into a field where new discoveries come every week and paradigms shift every year.
 
Review Quotes
Nature
“In this delightful scientific chronicle of humanity’s quest for ‘other worlds’, astronomer Lucas Ellerbroek mixes memoir, history and meetings with remarkable planet hunters.”
Science
“Are we alone in the universe? In Planet Hunters, Lucas Ellerbroek traces the story of this question from its beginnings during the age of Copernicus and Galileo to the present day, teaching us the relevant science as he goes. Ellerbroek is particularly skilled at inserting the ‘astronomy backstory,’ giving accessible introductions to both historical ideas and cutting-edge research, and showing how big questions are teased into empirical science.”
Jelle Brandt Corstius
“Ellerbroek is the Jacques Cousteau of the universe.”
Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute for Advanced Study
“A compelling adventure full of surprising details that show why astronomy is so fascinating.”
NRC Handelsblad
“Ellerbroek describes this voyage of discovery with enthusiastic energy.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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