Lucky Planet

GlobeLucky Planet is published by Icon Books (UK) and Basic Books (US) and it investigates whether the four billion years of good weather enjoyed by the Earth was an unlikely, although necessary, precondition for the emergence of intelligent life. In a search for answers, the book takes a tour of astronomy, geology, climatology, biology and cosmology before concluding that the best place to look for evidence is our Moon.  Lucky Planet is based upon my own published research about what makes the Earth special.

Lucky Planet asks; Is the Earth special and are we alone? A delightful tour of the various factors that influence planetary habitability (Jim Kasting)

A fascinating book [that] has changed my mind about this mighty question (Matt Ridley in The Times)

A lively and well argued antidote to a widespread view that advanced life could arise frequently (Richard Fortey)

His arguments are compelling and the book is a delight to read (Peter Forbes in The Independent)

Extract from Lucky Planet

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These are my technical papers that Lucky Planet,  is based upon. They also contain further references to many other technical publications that discuss the topics of anthropic selection, climate change and the history of life on Earth.

  • Waltham, D, 2014. On the Absence of Solar-Evolution Driven Warming Through the Phanerozoic, Terra Nova, DOI: 10.1111/ter.12097.
  • Waltham, D, 2013.  Our Large Moon Does Not Stabilize Earth’s Axis, EPSC Abstracts 8, EPSC2013-37. EPSC2013-37.
  • Waltham, D, 2011.  Anthropic selection and the habitability of planets orbiting M and K dwarfs, Icarus 215, 518-521.  Pdf (I am grateful to Elsevier for their permission to make this freely available).
  • Waltham, D, 2011.  Testing Anthropic Selection: A Climate Change Example, Astrobiology 11, 105-114. Open Access pdf.
  • Waltham, D, 2006.  The large-moon hypothesis:  Can it be tested?  International Journal of Astrobiology 5, 327-331.  Pdf is available but you may have to pay.
  • Waltham, D, 2004.  Anthropic Selection for the Moon’s Mass, Astrobiology 4, 460-468.  Open Access pdf.

Other Materials

You can learn more about the reasons why I believe we live on an unusually lucky planet by reading my guest blog on Andrew Rushby’s web site.  Articles and reviews concerning my book have appeared in the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, the New York Post, Geoscientist, the Chronicle Review, the Conversation, Sky@Night Magazine, BBC Focus Magazine, the Roanoke Times, The Space Review  and in Publisher’s Weekly.  You can also download the presentation on this topic that I give to schools, universities and local astronomical/geological societies or hear me talking about it at Physicsbuzz and Cool-Science radio (KPCW, Park City, Utah).  I’m only aware of two blogs about Lucky Planet so far, from Tekrighter and Icon, but hopefully I’ll be able to add more over the coming months.  Finally, Lucky Planet is recommended by Science Friday’s Summer Science Books and the Scientific American Bookclub.

You Tube Video from Icon Books