Does alien life truly exist beyond the scopes of our imaginations? A question that has been forever asked and not answered. For this difficult question at hand, Jim Al-Khalili delves into the worlds of physics, cosmology, chemistry and even philosophy. Working with experts and scientists from these fields, Jim Al-Khalili sets about on this great mission. This book is a compilation of 19 essays and the reader will see notable names such as Martin Rees, Louisa Preston, Paul Davies and Ian Stewart throughout this book. Many of whom have dedicated their lives to answering this exact question.
Martin Rees initially sets the reader off on this unique journey by asking, what is truly the position of humans in relation to the universe? Will we one day become the aliens that we currently seek? This first essay was vital in allowing my mind to prepare for the questions that arrive from this whole concept of alien-life. Along the way, the reader finds themselves in the mind of an octopus and meeting the tiny eight-legged critters that possibly have the ability to survive the harsh conditions of space. SETI’s very own Seth Shostak concludes this book with a mind-blowing essay on the future of the search for alien life.
This book holds many surprises, for me, the biggest surprise was the question of what actually constitutes life? This question seems so innocent but it opens an array of additional questions and possibilities. This leads to questions such as - what is the form of the alien life we seek? Could it be alien life that has evolved into some type of artificial intelligence? These endless questions and possibilities truly excite me.
I do however feel this book could have been edited in a more organised fashion. I often found it difficult referring back to a text I had previously read. Having the addition of an index in this book would have allowed for a much simpler process when attempting to cross reference different essays.
Overall this book was a very pleasant and thought-provoking read. I look forward to future attempts at discovering alien life. I would love to know how they have managed to keep well hidden for so long!