A thrilling journey through the recent discoveries in astronomy that point to our cosmic significance
In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist and author Caleb Scharf takes us on a cosmic adventure like no other, asserting that the age-old Copernican principle is in need of updating. When Copernicus proposed that the Earth was not the fixed point at the center of the known universe (and therefore we are not unique), he set in motion a colossal scientific juggernaut, forever changing our vision of nature. But the principle, Scharf argues, has never been entirely true-we do live at a particular time, in a particular location, under particular circumstances. By bringing together the latest discoveries in cutting-edge astronomy, Scharf shows how many aspects of our cosmic home are genuinely unique, and reveals what it means for our quest to determine whether we are alone in the universe.
Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's Astrobiology Center and the author of Gravity's Engines. He has written for New Scientist, Science and Nature, and appeared on BBC's Horizon. He received his PhD from Cambridge University, and now lives in New York City.