PROJECT

Symphony in C

W.W. Norton & Company, June 2019

Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, Robert M. Hazen, has crafted a delightful exploration of carbon, entitled: Symphony in C: Carbon & the Evolution of (Almost) Everything. Hazen, both a scientist and musician, has authored more than 400 articles and 20 books on science, history, and music and has performed as a professional trumpeter for more than 40 years.  In this new work, he uses his knowledge of musical compositions as a muse to explain the complexities of carbon and why it is so important to life on Earth.

Symphony in C in segmented into four movements, each of which explore carbon’s multi-faceted characteristics, as epitomized by the classical elements of the ancients—Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The book takes readers on a fascinating journey about origins and evolution, stasis and change, science and technology, spanning almost 14 billion years of cosmic history, but utterly immediate and relevant today.  W.W. Norton and Company is publishing the book, with a public release in June 2019.  The book also has been picked up by British (Harper Collins Publishers Limited), Chinese (Phoenix Science Press), and Russian distributors and will be the main selection of the June catalog for the Library of Science book club. 

Here's a look at some early reviews:

Beyond the science, Hazen brings the process of scientific investigation to life. Whether he’s describing the way researchers measure the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes, and the grave risks associated with such endeavors, or how animals first produced calcium carbonate shells for protection, Hazen conveys the delight he finds in the process of understanding the world around him. Even while demonstrating just how much humanity has learned about the “element of life,” his enthusiastic survey also shows the limits of existing knowledge and the potential for future discoveries in an exciting field. Publishers Weekly. 

An appealing popular-science account of carbon, the “giver of life.”.....A skillful account of the central element in our lives. Kirkus Reviews

Hazen's work has been recognized by Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America, the Geochemical Society, and the Mineralogical Society of America.  Hazen was the 2016 recipient of the Roebling Medal -- the highest award in mineralogy -- and has received many other science research awards. His scientific knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject matter shine through in this, his latest, book. 

About the Author

  • Robert Hazen
    Robert Hazen Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA
    close
    Robert Hazen
    Robert Hazen
    Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA

    DCO’s Executive Director Robert Hazen is a mineralogist and astrobiologist. He is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, and professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. Hazen is author of more than 400 articles and 20 books on science, history, and music. His recent research focuses on the role of minerals in the origin of life, including such processes as mineral-catalyzed organic synthesis and the selective adsorption of organic molecules on mineral surfaces. He has also developed a new approach to mineralogy, called "mineral evolution," which explores the co-evolution of the geo- and biospheres. His work has been recognized by Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America, the Geochemical Society, and the Mineralogical Society of America. He was the 2016 recipient of the Roebling Medal—the highest award in mineralogy, and has received many other science research awards. The mineral hazenite was named in his honor.

Further Reading

Hazen, R.M, 2012. The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet. Viking Penguin.

Trefil, J, and Hazen, R.M.  2012. The Sciences: An Integrated Approach. Wiley Plus.

Hazen, R.M, and Trefil, J. 2009. Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy. Anchor Books / Random House.

Hazen, R.M. 2005. Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origin. John Henry Press.

Trefil, J. and Hazen, R.M. 2004. Physics Matters: An Introduction to Conceptual Physics. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Hazen, R.M. 1999. The Diamond Makers.  Cambridge University Press.

Hazen, R.M. 1993. The New Alchemists: Breaking Through the Barriers of High Pressure. Times Books / Random House.

Hazen, R.M. 1988. The Breakthrough: The Race for the Superconductor. Summit Books / Simon & Schuster.

Hazen, R.M. and Singer, M. 1997. Why Aren't Black Holes Black? Anchor Books.

Hazen, R.M, and Trefil, J. 1991. Science Matters: The Principles of Science Simply Explained. Cassell.

Hazen, R.M. 1982. The Poetry of Geology. Unwin Hyman. 

Back to top