Profile has acquired a collection of essays to be commissioned and edited by Jim Al-Khalili on the subject of extra-terrestrial life, with contributions from scientists and thinkers on topics ranging from the probability of life on other planets to the neuroscience of alien abductions.
Cecily Gayford, editor at Profile Books, bought all rights in the collection, titled Aliens, from Patrick Walsh at Conville and Walsh.
Gayford said: "I am thrilled to announce that we will be publishing Aliens – and that it will be edited by the brilliant Jim Al-Khalili. It promises to be a wonderful, weird and thought-provoking exploration of one of the biggest mysteries of our age, and Jim will be scouring the farthest reaches of the universe to find the perfect contributors. I, for one, can’t wait for the Aliens invasion.”
Aliens will address questions such as, are we alone in the Universe? What are the ingredients necessary for life to emerge? Could the recently discovered exoplanets in our galaxy support life? If life does exist elsewhere, what might it look like? And why do so many people believe we have already been visited by aliens?
Al-Khalili is a British scientist, author and broadcaster, who is also a professor of Physics at the University of Surrey and president of the British Humanist Association. His latest book, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology (Bantam Press) written with Johnjoe Mcfadden, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize 2015.
He said: "To join with Profile Books to edit a book on such a fascinating subject is going to be hugely enjoyable, as will calling upon the vast experience and expertise of scientific colleagues around the world who have worked at the forefront of research into not only the nature of life on our planet but the real possibility of finding it elsewhere in the Universe.”
The acquisition coincides with the recent announcement that SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will invest $100m in the quest to discover intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
Profile will publish Aliens in autumn 2016.