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Aliens: Can We Make Contact with Extraterrestrial Intelligence?
     

Aliens: Can We Make Contact with Extraterrestrial Intelligence?

by Andrew J.H. Clark, Andrew Clark
 

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The startling scientific answers to questions about advanced life on other planets.

If elementary life forms are common throughout the cosmos, could intelligent beings have evolved elsewhere, and are they seeking us out? A father-and-son team of scientists-both with research backgrounds in astronomy and physics-gives us the most up-to-date scientific answers about

Overview

The startling scientific answers to questions about advanced life on other planets.

If elementary life forms are common throughout the cosmos, could intelligent beings have evolved elsewhere, and are they seeking us out? A father-and-son team of scientists-both with research backgrounds in astronomy and physics-gives us the most up-to-date scientific answers about extraterrestrial civilizations and our attempts to find them. If they exist, why haven't we been able to make contact? Could they be reluctant or unable to make themselves known? If aliens visited us before recorded history, are we now overdue for another visit? Even if we discount most UFO sightings as erroneous, how do we explain that more than four million Americans claim they have been abducted by aliens? Is there a case to be made for a future scientific study of UFOs? Here, in language requiring no prior specialized knowledge, the authors pull together the strands from all plausible scientific answers to present a unique merging of current astronomical findings with philosophical interpretation of the techniques used in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although its title may conjure up visions of The X-Files, this sensible book has more affinity with the movie Contact. Above all, it is a plea for continued support of SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence), presently conducted as the privately funded Project Phoenix due to the withdrawal of government backing. Although readers of other major books on this subject, such as the classic Are We Alone? by Paul Davies or the more recent Probability One, will be familiar with much of the material here, this is a solid primer for those new to the actual science involved in current efforts to find ETI. The authors, a British father-and-son team (p re David is the author of The Cosmos from Space; Andrew is a physicist and philosopher), address three crucial questions. Why have 40 years of searching not been fruitful? What is the probability that intelligent life will evolve on other planets? And, if it is there, why hasn't it come here? Readers are walked gently through the history of both the American and Soviet programs, the Drake equation (a means of organizing the factors necessary for an advanced alien civilization) and the fundamentals of astronomy, geology, biology, etc., needed to assess the likelihood of other technologically sophisticated civilizations evolving. While still promoting the search via radio astronomy for alien beacons, the authors hope to revive serious consideration that an alien research probe or survey may have visited (or will visit) our planet. Amateur exobiologists are encouraged to download SETI@home (http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/download.html) to turn their screensavers into signal-finding number-crunchers, and those who have read this well-reasoned book and wish to look further are advised to join a legitimate research group such as the Planetary Society, founded by Carl Sagan. Agent, Al Zuckerman of Writers House. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited, optimistic discourse on the search for extraterrestrial life. A father-and-son team of scientists (David is the author of The Cosmos from Space, 1987, etc.) explore the possibility of extraterrestrial life from a purely scientific perspective. Beginning with a famous equation (gasp) that attempts to calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, Aliens tackles arguments both for and against this possibility. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, begins in the 1960s with teams in both the US and the Soviet Union hunting for alien radio signals. Throughout the book the authors make every effort to give the nontechnical reader some basis of understanding the enormous distances and time scales involved for interstellar travel. To adequately explain the scientific issues involved, the Clarks give clear, qualitative explanations of mathematical concepts such as probability and the inverse square law. Although the authors offer ample evidence showing that simple life forms ("slime") may be relatively abundant in the universe, the conditions that would allow for complex life forms are far more scarce. If aliens do exist, it•s far more likely we will find them through a search for their electronic transmissions rather than a search for their crashed saucers. The conditions that would allow for interstellar travel, assuming that extraterrestrials would even want to make such a trip, would require a herculean effort on their part. It•s therefore obvious that the authors hold little regard for unsubstantiated tales of alien abduction. They even debunk some of the myths that surround SETI, including the idea that scientists listen for aliens onheadphones. The irrepressible spirit of the authors of this fine tome is best described in their own words: •What a wonderful challenge! What a noble endeavor SETI is!" Good luck to them both.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880642583
Publisher:
Fromm International Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Series:
Assessment of Aliens Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.90(d)

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