Mullane Literary Associates

The Copernicus Complex by Caleb Scharf

The Copernicus Complex Caleb Scharf

Praise for Caleb Scharf’s The Copernicus Complex

A brilliantly written and engaging account of modern astronomy.”

Owen Gingerich American Scholar

An intoxicating collection of questions answered with other questions, and startling discoveries that make creation even more mysterious...Books such as these remind us that we are lucky to be here at all, and even luckier to be here now.”

The Guardian

“When it comes to scientific thought-provocation, Scharf is there with Paul Feyerabend and Richard Feynman, Marie Curie and Peter Higgs...This book feels alive with spontaneity...[It] is near combustible with convivial—maybe even mad—energy.”

Barnes and Noble Review

Engrossing and invigorating, absorbing glimpse into the profundities of our very existence. With an engaging style and ample elucidatory prowess, Scharf beautifully conveys the latest cosmological insights whilst inspiring both wonder and awe.”

The Oregonian

“How reasonable is it to think that we are alone in the vast expanses of space? And how significant is life on Earth on the Universal (or multiversal) scale? These are the questions that astrobiologist Caleb Scharf addresses intelligently and comprehensively in his beautifully written The Copernicus Complex. The book offers a grand tour of important findings from astronomy to biology that are relevant to the cosmic and microscopic search for life.”


Exceptionally clear, entertaining, and up-to-date.”

Jeff Horgan, Salon

An ingenious mixture of cosmology, evolutionary biology and philosophy.”

Kirkus Reviews

This lyrical tale describes how we have opened our minds to appreciate our cosmic insignificance as we explore the true wonder of the cosmos....This voyage of discovery demonstrates that scientific progress requires us to transcend the often myopic intuition that evolution has saddled us with, and let nature be our guide.”

Lawrence M. Krauss, bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek

Scharf covers a lot of ground, and his entertaining, accessible approach offers valuable insight not just into science, but also into the way our assumptions can make a difficult task, like finding life in the universe, even harder.”

Publishers Weekly

A witty, adroitly marshalled treatise on human significance.”

The Observer

A tantalising approach to the mysteries of the universe.”

The Independent

Delivers its argument with comparable clarity, insight and humour.”

The Telegraph

The Copernicus Complex addresses a perennial mystery: the cosmic significance (or perhaps the insignificance) of life on Earth. Caleb Scharf summarizes current debates...[and] sets his theme in a historical context, writing in an engaging and accessible style.”

Martin Rees, author of Just Six Numbers and From Here to Infinity

Sweeping in reach and lucid in exposition...raises profound questions and offers provocative insights into our ongoing quest for life’s cosmic context.”

Ray Jayawardhana, astrophysicist and author of Neutrino Hunters

A compelling story of discovery. Combining a writer’s flare for history and detail with the insight and range of a leading astrobiologist, Scharf not only gives us a scientific tour of life in the universe, he also offers his own original ideas for understanding our place in the cosmos.”

Adam Frank, NPR commentator and the author of The Constant Fire

In this panoramic journey....Scharf assembles an authoritative and visionary argument that our place in the universe—our world, our lives, our time—may be far more special than most scientists have dared to dream. Read this book to find out how and why humanity could be on the cusp of cosmic significance.”

Lee Billings, author of Five Billion Years of Solitude

Beautifully describes the Copernican Revolution as a revolution in both senses of the word....As Scharf reveals, the universe appears to be eerily fine-tuned for life, and The Copernicus Complex is one of the most perceptive discussions I’ve read about that fact.”

George Musser, award-winning journalist and author ofThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory

Takes us on a wonderful journey, from the formation of stars, through the biological basis of life, to the present human condition. And on the way it tests the limits of the Copernican Principle: perhaps humankind’s position in the Universe is not so ordinary after all.”

David J. Hand, author of The Improbability Principle

About the Author

Caleb Scharf is the director of the Astrobiology Center at Columbia University and has written for The New Yorker, New Scientist, Science, National Geographic, Scientific American, and Nature, among other publications. He has been a keynote speaker at the American Museum of Natural History and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and has served as a consultant for the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, The New York Times, and others. He is the author of Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology, winner of the 2012 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

Follow Caleb Scharf on Twitter logo Twitter and Facebook logo Facebook.