No Other Eden by Guillermo Gonzalez

No Other Eden

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe
by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee
New York: Copernicus; Springer-Verlag, 2000
(333 pages; $27.50, cloth)

by Guillermo Gonzalez

Peter D. Ward, a paleontologist, and Donald Brownlee, an astronomer, are both at the University of Washington. Both are well known in their respective fields: Ward has written several books on life extinctions in Earth history; Brownlee is head of the Stardust mission to a comet, and his name has been applied to interplanetary dust particles collected in the Earth’s atmosphere—Brownlee particles. As a colleague in the same department, I know both scientists well. (I see Brownlee almost every day.) The three . . .