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  • Published: 30 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141944050
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

The Eerie Silence

Are We Alone 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. 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%%%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. 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

  • Published: 30 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141944050
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the author

Paul Davies

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, author and broadcaster. On 1 September 2006 Paul Davies will take up a new position as college professor at Arizona State University, the largest public university campus in the USA. He will have the distinctive assignment to establish a new centre on foundational questions in science, to encompass cosmology, life, astrobiology and philosophy - a think tank for addressing complex issues in these areas.He has achieved an international reputation for his ability to explain the significance of advanced scientific ideas in simple language. He is the author of some twenty-five books including The Mind of God, The Last Three Minutes and How to Build a Time Machine. Among other awards he has won the Templeton Prize, The Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize for science communication and a Glaxo Science Writers' Fellowship. In April 1999 the asteroid 1992 OG was officially named (6870) Pauldavies in his honour. Davies has extensive experience in all facets of the media. He writes regularly for newspapers, journals and magazines in several countries. Notable among his contributions to radio are a series of documentaries on BBC Radio 3, and his television work has ranged from chat shows to scripting and presenting various documentaries, including his own series entitled The Big Questions and More Big Questions. Committed to bringing science to the wider public, Davies engages in a heavy program of public lecturing around the world, addressing scientific and religious topics. As a supporter of the arts, he is also frequently involved in literary and artistic events both in Australia and internationally. The recipient of many awards and commendations, Davies won the Eureka Prize in 1991 for the promotion of science in Australia, and in 1993 he was presented with an Advance Australia Award for outstanding contributions to science. In 1995 Davies was awarded the Templeton Prize for progress in religion, the world's largest prize for intellectual endeavour.

Paul Davies is married, and has four children. He remains a British citizen. In addition to his passion for both traditional and contemporary art, he is interested in the history of the second world war, politics and economics. He also enjoys keeping fit and discussing geographical trivia.

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