Monday, July 9, 2012

Astrobiology...word etymology


The research of life in Universe is a ancient quest that has taken different forms over the centuries. It has given rise to a new science, which is normally referred as Astrobiology. It is interesting to research when this word was used for the first time and when this science developed to represent the search for life in Universe as is done today. There are records of the usage of the word "Astrobiology" as early as 1935, in an article published in a French popular science magazine. Moreover this article is quite remarkable because its portrayal of the concept of the subject is very similar to that considered today. The author of this paper was Ary J. Sternfeld (1905 - 1980), who was ortherwise known as a poorly respected great pioneer of astronautics. We provide a brief description of his life, which was heavily influenced by the tragic events of the 20th century history, from Poland and France to Russia. He was a prolific scientific writer who wrote a number of very successful scientific books and papers.

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