Book zooms through key cosmic, geologic and biological events that shaped past
A Most Improbable Journey
W.W. Norton & Co., $26.95
Most people do not marvel much at sand. We may enjoy how it feels under our bare feet, or get annoyed when someone tracks it into the house. But few of us see those quartz grains the way geologist Walter Alvarez does — as the product of 4.5 billion years of improbable cosmic and geologic events that defined the course of human history.
Sandy beaches exist because silicon — a relatively rare element in the solar system — happened to become concentrated on Earth during the solar system’s early days, Alvarez, of the University of California, Berkeley, writes