Peter Ward (paleontologist)


Peter Ward (paleontologist)

Peter Douglas Ward is a paleontologist and professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, as well as an author of popular science works for a general audience.

Life and work

Ward's academic career has included teaching posts and professional connections with Ohio State University, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the University of Calgary, and the California Institute of Technology. He was elected as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 1984.

Peter Ward specializes in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event and mass extinctions generally. He has published books on biodiversity and the fossil record. His 1992 book "On Methuselah's Trail" received a "Golden Trilobite Award" from the Paleontological Society as the best popular science book of the year. Ward also serves as an adjunct professor of zoology and astronomy.

Ward is co-author, along with astronomer Donald Brownlee, of the best-selling "", published in 2000. In that work, the authors suggest that the universe is fundamentally hostile to advanced life, and that, while simple life might be abundant, the likelihood of widespread lifeforms as advanced as those on Earth is marginal.

According to Ward's April 2007 book,"Under a Green Sky", all but one of the major extinction events in history have been brought on by climate change — the same global warming that occurs today. The author argues that events in the past can give valuable information about the future of our planet. Reviewer Doug Brown goes further, stating [http://www.powells.com/review/2007_06_09 This Is How the World Ends] .Scientists at the Universities of York and Leeds also warn that the [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024083644.htm fossil record supports evidence of impending mass extinction] , according to a ScienceDaily release, Oct. 24, 2007.

Appearances

Peter Ward was featured in the PBS Evolution Series [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/] to discuss the evidence for evolution in the geologic record and has appeared on NOVA Science Now.

ee also

Gorgonopsia

elected works

* "In Search of Nautilus" (1988)
* "On Methuselah's Trail" (1992)
* "The Call of Distant Mammoths: Why the Ice Age Mammals Disappeared" (1997)
* "Time Machines: Scientific Exploration of Deep Time" (1998)
* "Rivers in Time" (2000)
* "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe" with Donald Brownlee (2000)
* "Future Evolution" (2001) ISBN 0-7167-3496-6
* "The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World" with Donald Brownlee (2003) ISBN 0-8050-6781-7
* "Gorgon: Obsession, Paleontology, and the Greatest Mass Extinction" (2004)
* "Life as We Do Not Know It" (2005) ISBN 0-670-03458-4
* "Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere" (2006) ISBN 0-309-10061-5
* "Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future" (2007) ISBN 978-0061137914

References

* "The Science of Doom: Peter Ward takes on the great unknowns", Pacific Northwest magazine (Seattle Times), December 11, 2005, p. 12ff

External links

* http://www.pbs.org/kcet/shapeoflife/explorations/bio_ward.html
* http://www.ess.washington.edu/web/ess/people/faculty_bio/ward-bio.html


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