CEB Committe on Evolutionary Biology

Neil Shubin’s latest book releases this week!

Congratulations to Neil Shubin whose latest book, The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People, will be released this Tuesday, January 8th! Here is the publisher’s synopsis and a few reviews. Click here to read an excerpt from The Universe Within that was posted by The Daily Beast, and another one here on Salon.com.

Synopsis:

From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us?


In Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human bodies—our hands, heads, and jaws—and the structures in fish and worms that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. In The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting once again with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.

Reviews:

"A truly delightful story of how human beings and life on Earth are connected to the wider universe. We don't observe reality from outside; we're embedded deeply within in it, and it shows. Neil Shubin is a sure-handed and entertaining guide to the big picture of how we came to be." Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe

"University of Chicago paleontologist Shubin wrote about the fishy origins of humanity in 2009's Your Inner Fish. In his new book, he goes farther back and further out, explaining how humans bear the markings of cosmic phenomena; as he puts it, 'Written inside us is the birth of the stars.' Here, the author surveys everything from glints in 'Greenlandic rocks' to the spreading signs of supernovae to reveal 'deep ties to the forces that shaped our bodies.' He demonstrates how mammals owe their 'high-energy lifestyle' to oxygen released hundreds of millions of years ago as continents spread apart, and how color vision arose after continental drift cooled the planet, diversified flora, and resulted in biological competition that favored those organisms who could identify nutritious plants according to hue ('Every time you admire a richly colorful view, you can thank India for slamming into Asia'). Shubin is a leading proponent of the fusion of paleontology, developmental genetics, and genomics, and the result of his efforts is a volume of truly inspired science writing. Appropriately vast in scope, Shubin deftly balances breadth and depth in his search for a 'sublimely beautiful truth." Publishers Weekly.