© 2003

Intelligent Life in the Universe

From Common Origins to the Future of Humanity

  • First book of its kind that goes beyond the popular science level


Part of the Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics book series (ASTROBIO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-X
  2. Planets

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 19-37
    3. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 39-49
    4. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 51-76
  3. Life

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-77
    2. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 79-104
    3. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 105-148
    4. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 149-166
  4. Intelligence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 167-167
    2. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 169-204
    3. Peter Ulmschneider
      Pages 205-227
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 229-253

About this book


This book addresses all those interested in the origins, development and fate of intelligent species in the observable part of our universe. In particular, the author scrutinizes what kind of information about extraterrestrial intelligent life can be inferred from our own biological, cultural and scientific evolution and the likely future of mankind. The first part of the book provides the necessary background information from space and life sciences, thus making the book also accessible to students and the scientifically educated layman.


astrobiology bioastronomy evolution exobiology extraterrestrial intelligent life life on Earth origins of life astronomy biology development earth extrasolar planet Extraterrestrial life planet universe

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische AstrophysikUniversität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

"[...] A more detailed and well-referenced approach is Intelligent Life in the Universe by Peter Ulmschneider. He concentrates on planet formation and the characteristics needed for the development of life, the timetable of evolution, and the effects on our planet and others of life becoming intelligent. A lecturer could build an intriguing general science module around this book." (New Scientist, March 22, 2003)

"New in this book is the argument that, by thinking carefully about the future development of mankind, one can gain insight into the nature of extraterrestrial civilizations. [...] An interesting book for what concerns the scientific chapters, and also the speculative part will definitely interest a great number of readers." (Physicalia, 25/4, 2003)

"It is hardly surprising that the area of astrobiology already has two mainstream journals and a steady series of textbooks ranging from introductory to highly specialist. It is to this latter genre, pleasingly situated in the mid-range of technical but understandable, that we welcome Peter Ulmschneider's intelligent and succinct contribution. [...] Whether or not one shares Ulmschneider's optimistic view of our future and place in the cosmic realm, he is to be congratulated both on producing an excellent synthesis but also touching on potential philosophial and ethic points which may well assume a degree of urgency sooner than any of us expected." (Simon Conway Morris, Geological Magazine 2005, 142, page 135-136)

"The book addresses the reader through three main topics: planets, life, and intelligence. … In conclusion, ‘Intelligent life in the Universe’ is a nice monographic presentation of the cosmic vision of life. Certainly the book is a pleasant reading not only for scientists but also for a broad audience of non specialised readers." (Società Italiana di Fisica, Vol. 28C (1), 2005)

From the reviews of the second edition:

"This edition updates the field with the addition of an entire section devoted to Earth, in which the author discusses plate tectonics and continental formation, and expanded sections on the conquest of land by plants and animals. The material has been updated to include new work on astronomical exploration, and rearranged to accommodate the expansions. The new edition is worth adding to any collection … . Summing Up: Recommended. All levels." (P. R. Douville, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (10), June, 2007)