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The Science of Why We Exist: A History of the Universe from the Big Bang to Consciousness (Hardcover)

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From the Big Bang and the evolution of the genetic code to the birth of consciousness, this is the extraordinary story of the chain of events that led to human life on earth.

Have you ever wondered why you exist? What had to happen for you to be alive and conscious? Scientists have come a long way in answering this question, and this book describes what they have found out. It also examines whether our existence was inevitable at the universe’s birth 13.77 billion years ago—or whether we are just incredibly lucky.

The book is aimed at readers who are interested in science but are not experts. Written in an entertaining and accessible style, the narrative begins by describing how scientists discover facts before taking the reader on a journey from the Big Bang to the creation of the human genome.

Covering physics, astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, the emergence of life, evolution, consciousness, the rise of humanity, and how our personalities are moulded by genes, chance, and the environment, the journey explains how the universe started as point of intense energy that over time, in our corner of the universe, resulted in our wonderful planet—and in you.

About the Author

Tim Coulson is a professor of zoology at the University of Oxford. He has worked as an academic teaching biology for three decades and has published over two hundred peer-reviewed articles. Tim chose to study biology because he was drawn to its inherent complexity, as his desire was to become a specialist in complex systems. His teaching and research has been rewarded with international awards from the Royal Society, the British Ecological Society, the Swedish Oikos society, the Zoological Society of London, Imperial College London, and the University of Oxford. Tim regularly gives interviews on the BBC, Sky, and Channel 4 as a talking head. Tim lives in Oxford, England.

Praise For…

"I learned a lot from this fantastic book on the history of the universe, as will anyone who reads it. In writing this easy to read and highly enjoyable book, evolutionary biologist Tim Coulson places himself amongst the very best science communicators."
Nils Chr. Stenseth, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Oslo, former president of the Norwegian Academy of Science, and member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

"Tim Coulson’s book is a ripping yarn about the history of our improbable existence. It is fundamentally factual, with every inference evaluated in the context of the scientific method, highlighting the continuity of the thread across vast time scales that span physical, chemical, and biological events that led to who we are today. It is smart, informative, yet approachable and brimming with personal anecdotes and humor."
Rosie Gillespie, Professor of environmental science, policy, and management, University California, Berkeley

“This is The Outline of History that H. G. Wells would have written if he’d lived now rather than then. Most scientists know only their own field. Tim Coulson is at home with science as an integrated whole. A pleasure to read, and a lasting accomplishment to have written.”
Richard Dawkins, author of The Genetic Book of the Dead

"Exceptional. A highly infectious read. From the first page I found it impossible to put down. An erudite, witty, and highly intelligent romp through the history of life as we know it."
Professor Kathy Willis, professor of bioversity, University of Oxford, and author of Good Nature

"Achieves something almost impossible, lucid explanation without dumbing down. I would defy any scientist not to read this and learn something. For those with no science beyond the stuff at school which you hated, the author hated school too and has you covered. You can read this for fun and accidentally you will know as much general science as any Professor."
James H. Naismith, head of the mathematical, physical, and life sciences division and professor of structural biology, Oxford 

"A gangbuster science book. A can't-put-down read. I don't think I have learned more from a single book."
Douglas W. Smith, Former Senior Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park

"Step aside Star Wars—ours is the most astonishing story you'll ever hear and it is beautifully told by Tim Coulson."
Professor Ken Norris, deputy director of science, Natural History Museum

"An extremely enjoyable read, written in a very engaging way, and sprinkled with often very funny anecdotes. Will appeal to a broad variety of readers and inspire new generations of scientists for years to come."
Quentin Paynter

"A charming, engaging and erudite account by a distinguished biologist of all the things that had to happen for you and me to exist and be as we are."
David Christian, author of the New York Times bestselling Origin Story

"What have we learned about the past 13.8 billion years that resulted in you looking at this book? Tim Coulson, a fun scientist who has no limits to his brain’s boundaries takes us on a free spirited intellectual romp through every aspect of what we know about our universe. A highly readable and super enjoyable book.”
Peter Hudson, FRS, Willaman professor of biology, Penn State

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639366521
ISBN-10: 1639366520
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 480
Language: English