New e-book anthology dives into the world of astrobiology

2020-05-20


Is anyone out there? From the possibility of microbial life on Mars and elsewhere in the solar
system across the multitude of exoplanets all the way to the Fermi Paradox, astrobiology
tries to find the answer to this age-old question and more - like how life originated here on
Earth, what are its physical limits and what forms might life take under different conditions.
A new freely available SF anthology released by the European Astrobiology Institute delves
into these questions via science fiction stories by world-renowned authors, followed by
essays about the science of each story.  


The anthology, titled Strangest of All (a nod to H. G. Wells' War of The Worlds), was edited by the author, editor and scientist Julie Nováková, who leads the outreach working group of the European Astrobiology Institute. The book contains reprint SF stories by G. David Nordley, Geoffrey Landis, Gregory Benford, Tobias S. Buckell, Peter Watts and D. A. Xiaolin Spires, plus a bonus story by the editor.

Each story is followed not only by the science essay complete with references for readers craving more, but also a couple of ideas for classroom discussions or tasks (best-suited for higher high school grades or undergraduate university students), such as thinking of how to devise a message for a potentially listening alien civilization, bearing in mind what we know of sensory and cognitive differences between species here on Earth. For most of the questions, there is no definitive answer - but all the more curiosity should they elicit.

Strangest of All is the first of major outreach projects coming from the European Astrobiology Institute (EAI). EAI was founded in 2019 with the aims to support interdisciplinary research in astrobiology across Europe and beyond, disseminate scientific results and promote education and outreach in astrobiology and related fields by organizing summer schools, supporting the AbGradE forum for graduate students and creating materials such as this book, among other ways. Astrobiology is an exciting and booming scientific field, and science fiction is a perfect tool to bring it closer to people and enable them to imagine the incessant drive of curiosity and the joy of discovery that are at the heart of both science and SF. More such efforts are considered by EAI's project team "Science Fiction as a tool for Astrobiology Outreach and Education", which also welcomes new members who are interested in developing similar outreach materials.

The anthology
Strangest of All can be downloaded for free in several formats on the websites of the European Astrobiology Institute and the editor Julie Nováková.

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

Fecha: 2020-05-20

 

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