Life in the Universe

John Alfred Valentine Butler. F.R.S., D.Sc, was born in 1899. He studied at Birmingham University and later held a Rockefeller fellowship at the University of Princeton in the U.S.A. He was Professor of physisal Chemistry at the University of  London Institute of Cancer Research. His publications include Science and Human life, Man is a Microcosm and Inside the Living Cell. The essay showa a shift in scientific belief since Jeans wrote The Mystenous Universe in 1930. Butler refers to Jeans and points out that to the modern scientist life in the universe appears less accidental-and possibly far more widespread-than it did to Jeans and his contemporaries.
What is life? A little scum of no importance on the surface of an unimportant globe circling round a second-rate star? An accidental conglomeration of atoms which have come together by an odd chance, the result of an exceedingly improbable happening? That is what some astronomers would have us think.

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