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Book Review Classic: Children of the Universe by Hoimar Von Ditfurth

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Children of the Universe by Hoimar Von Ditfurth

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 universe.

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 calendar.


Children of the Universe

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.

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 jet lag.

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.

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