Refuges for life in a hostile universe
G. Gonzales, D. Brownlee and P.D. Ward
Scientific American, October 2001, p.60-6
Et tu, Brute?
The cover story of the October 2001 issue of Scientific American was an article by Professor Gonzalez. I found a copy of the article in teaching resources at the University of Arizona.
Interestingly, the cover story isn’t mentioned on the Scientific American contents web page for this past issue. Cover stories are certainly mentioned the month before and the month after. Indeed I’d wager that no mention of the cover story in any past issues web page is a very rare thing.
It’s not like this article was panned by peers. Indeed it’s part of the syllabus in astrobiology courses like this one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
Irene Porro, Ph.D.
MIT Center for Space Research
December 6, 2004
3:00 pm Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 6:00 pm
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How Big Is the Universe?: Activity and Discussion
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Signatures of Habitability and Life: Remote Sensing – Activity and Discussion
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How Rare is Earth-Like Life?: Activity and Discussion
Readings for this session:
“Refuges for life in a hostile universe,” G. Gonzales, D. Brownlee and P.D. Ward –
Scientific American, October 2001, p.60-67
“The origins of water on Earth,” J.F. Kasting – Scientific American Ã¢â‚¬â€œ New Light on the
Solar System, 2003, p. 28-33
“Migrating Planets,” R. Malhotra – Scientific American, Sept. 1999, p. 56-63
“Can interplanetary rocks carry life?” – Cosmic Horizons p. 170-175
David Rothstein, an NSF postdoc astronomy research fellow at Cornell, refers to Refuges in answer to the question Could there be life in the galaxies nearest to the Milky Way? and is even surprised enough to mention he couldn’t find it on Scientific American’s website.
For more information about the sorts of environments within a galaxy that might be hospitable to life, have a look at the article in the October 2001 issue of Scientific American entitled “Refuges for Life in a Hostile Universe” (by Guillermo Gonzalez, Donald Brownlee and Peter D. Ward). I could not find this story on the Scientific American website but I did find a PDF copy from another source.
Interestingly Scientific American does sell two of Professor Gonzalez’ books in the Science Bookstore; The Privileged Planet and Observational Astronomy. I wonder whether that’s a conspiratorial oversight or a case of money trumping principle? Speaking of oversights evidently they forgot to cull Refuges from this Scientific American Special Issue of “classic Scientific American articles” entitled Mysteries of the Milky Way.
Observational Astronomy, 2nd Edition, D. Scott Birney, Guillermo Gonzalez, David Oesper is used in astronomy courses at institutions like these; New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Manitoba, Franklin & Marshall, University of Wisconsin, University of Toronto, and others.