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How to Build a Habitable Planet:
The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind
Charles H. Langmuir & Wally Broecker

Book Description | Table of Contents
Preface [in PDF format] | Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Enormous advances have been made in the Earth sciences in the years since the original volume appeared. In addition, climate change has become a much more urgent topic. The revised version aims to bring the science up to date and to give a current environmental perspective. In this undertaking, Broecker has been joined by Langmuir, who now becomes first author. Their approach of providing each chapter with a clear introduction and summary will help greatly in accommodating the lay reader. . . . We can be grateful to the authors that they had the initiative and energy to undertake a scientific synthesis of such broad scope. . . . All who are concerned with the global environment and who wish to be scientifically well-informed in relation to it will find the book a worthwhile and inspirational challenge."--Ray Bates, Irish Times

"[Langmuir and Broecker] strike a nice balance with roughly an equal number of chapters devoted to life, earth, and extraterrestrial processes. . . . What makes it work is the authors' admirable job of focusing tightly on how the many processes they outline feed into life's makeup or systems needed to support it."--Choice

"Although this 718 page book is over twice as long compared to the first edition, it is still a comfortable read both for earth scientists as well as nonspecialists. The diverse topics dealt with have been skillfully stitched together and each chapter provides lucid descriptions, logical discussions and a nice summary. This book could be an useful text for undergraduate students in earth sciences and with necessary supplements, could also be used for advanced courses in earth sciences."--Ramananda Chakrabarti, Current Science

"I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a well-informed exploration of the theories behind building a habitable planet. Although complex in some places, it is still accessible to many and is overall a very useful addition to any astrobiologist's library."--Samantha Rolfe, Astrobiology Society of GB

"This classic account of how our habitable planet was assembled from the stuff of stars introduced readers to planetary, Earth, and climate science by way of a fascinating narrative. Now it has been made even better."--Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

"Generally speaking, the book by Langmuir & Broecker is very reader friendly. . . . It can become an essential reading for both beginners and professionals in geology, palaeontology, and other natural sciences. Geoscience educators will also praise it. . . . This book is a very good addition to the conventional textbooks on general geology, and it can be recommended for students as advanced reading."--Dmitry A. Ruban, Palaontologie Allgemein


"In this comprehensive and engaging tour of environmental science, world-leading authorities Charles Langmuir and Wally Broecker provide the residents of the only habitable planet we know with the essential knowledge of how we got here and where we might be going."--Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University

"As NASA continues to assess the habitability of our planetary neighbor, Mars, this insightful and approachable book is a timely reminder of how important it is to understand the habitability of our own Earth. Comprehensive and up-to-date, it exposes how ideas, imperfect understanding, and controversies drive scientific knowledge forward."--Roger Everett Summons, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This is a magnificent book, a successful and very worthwhile revision of its legendary and coveted first edition. The new edition offers more than a minor dusting off of the material. There are some completely new chapters and the authors have also done a good job of introducing newer discoveries. This book is more timely than ever, and I greet this revision with uncontained enthusiasm."--Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, University of Chicago

"This book is exceptionally well written and easy to read. The authors have taken a huge and complex topic and simplified it, removed the jargon, used analogies common to everyday experience, and as a result made a book that should be accessible and enjoyable to readers with little background in science."--Becky Alexander, University of Washington

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File created: 4/24/2017

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