The Eerie Silence: Searching for Ourselves in the Universe
Author: Paul Davies
In this exhilarating new book Paul Davies, bestselling author of The Mind of God and The Goldilocks Enigma, reveals the very latest findings in our search for alien life in the universe.
On April 8, 1960, a young American astronomer, Frank Drake, turned a radio telescope toward the star Tau Ceti and listened for several hours to see if he could detect any artificial radio signals. With this modest start began a worldwide project of potentially momentous significance. Known as SETI—Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—it is an amalgam of science, technology, adventure, curiosity and a bold vision of humanity's destiny. Drake has said that SETI is really a search for ourselves—who we are and what our place might be in the grand cosmic scheme of things.
Yet with one tantalizing exception, SETI has produced only negative results. After millions of hours spent eavesdropping on the cosmos astronomers have detected only the eerie sound of silence. Paul Davies asks, what does that mean? Are we in fact alone in the vastness of the universe? Is ET out there, but not sending any messages our way? Might we be surrounded by messages we simply don't recognize? Is SETI a waste of time and money, or should we press ahead with new and more sensitive antennas? Or look somewhere else? And if a signal were to be received, what then? How would we—or even should we—respond?
The Eerie Silence takes us on a journey through close encounters past and present, looks towards the future, and examines the foundations of carbon-based life on this planet to question whether we will ever find it anywhere else.