In this classic
book Children of the Universe, scientific
journalist Hoimar Von Ditfurth looks at man's place in a universe filled with
unknowns. This German's enthusiasm for the cosmos was
equaled only by the late Carl Sagan of the United States.
Von Ditfurth has undertaken the task of
teaching man how to be amazed again. He believes that
Western man has been disillusioned ever since the days of
Copernicus when that great astronomer revealed that the
earth was not the center of the universe. But recent
discoveries in astronomy, physics, biology, paleontology,
and geology show that a complex web joins us with our
planet,our solar system, our galaxy, and with our
Unlike many books that tell people
there is life elsewhere just because there is or should
be, this book makes its point by understating the drama,
and instead, showing and describing what is out in space.
The book contains an excellent section of black and white
photopgrahs, showing globular clusters found in our own
Milky Way galaxy, tektites from around the world, comets,
sun spots, and more.
Von Ditfurth describes how the Earth
periodically lost its magnetic shield during violent
cosmic collisions between the earth and gigantic meteors
weighing hundreds of millions of tons. If this happened
in the past, could it happen in the future? Are these the
cataclysmic tragedies the abductees are telling us?
Von Ditfurth also says the earth's
magnetic North Pole has not always coincided with its
geographical North Pole. During the past 76 million
years, the earth's magnetic field has reversed its poles
at least one hundred and seventy times. Certain regions
of the ocean floor have been uninterruptedly emitting
lava for millions of years. These areas record the
history of the repeated dipolar reversals of the magnetic
field. Scientists can read the lava record like a
The author explores Continental drift
and shows how it occurred on earth and how it is still
going on today. The magnetic poles influenced the actual
direction the contents would drift. The continents moved
at the rate of several inches a year.
Children of the Universe
Von Ditfurth also describes human
sexuality in terms of evolution and Nature's desire to
continue its species. He talks about the human internal
clock and how travelers flying from the Northern
Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere do not experience
The author describes how five billion
years ago, cosmic evolution entered its second stage. New
suns were being born which for the first time contained
traces of every one of the 92 natural elements. The suns
began to form planets from these 92 elements. Our planet
Earth rotates around one of the suns. Our Milky Way
galaxy contains 100 billion stars like our sun.
If we are
conservative, and assume that only one out of every
100,000 suns developed its own planetary system, this
would mean that one million solar systems like our own
existed in the Milky Way! This means there could be one
million forms of intelligent life in our own Milky Way
galaxy. It is easy to assume that at least one of these
one million forms of life could have discovered earth. It
is truly amazing. The numbers in favor of life out in
space are breathtaking.
This book was first
published in the 1970s and is a classic sure to enhance any collection.