The Eerie Silence

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A provocative and mind-expanding look at the search for alien intelligence by a leading physicist and astrobiologist.

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A provocative and mind-expanding look at the search for alien intelligence by a leading physicist and astrobiologist.

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Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner
…Mr. Davies is an interesting thinker about nearly every aspect of our search for other intelligent life in the universe. The Eerie Silence may reprise material from his earlier books and lean on the work of futuristic thinkers like Freeman Dyson and Raymond Kurzweil. It gets moderately woo-woo at times, too. But Mr. Davies is smart enough to coax you rather slowly out onto the mental gangplank with him, from where the view becomes genially starry and mind-bending.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In what has become known as Fermi's Paradox, the great nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, if there are aliens out there, where is everybody? After 50 years of looking, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project has likewise failed to find anybody. Cosmologist Davies (The Mind of God), winner of the 1995 Templeton Prize, believes that SETI's search for narrow-band radio signals from planets around other stars needs to be broadened to look for other possible signs of life. Aliens may be using far more advanced technology than radio to signal the cosmos, such as manipulating pulsars to act as beacons or even neutrino signaling. Davies also puts forth the possibility that alien probes may be silently trolling the solar system. The author surveys popular topics in science fiction such as Dyson spheres, time travel, and wormholes, and decides that they're not feasible under physics as we understand it. He concludes with a far-ranging look at what might happen here on Earth when we make first contact. Highly recommended for both science fiction and astronomy buffs. Illus. (Apr. 13)
Library Journal
Written to mark the 50th anniversary of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, as a scientific discipline, this work reviews the current thinking about the likelihood of extraterrestrial life and the best ways to detect it. So far, SETI has found no sign of alien life, so Arizona State University physicist Davies (Cosmic Jackpots) suggests several ways to improve the search: SETI should look for a possible second genesis of life here on Earth as it's possible that not all life is from the same origin. Also, now that most communication is through optical fibers, we know that a civilization's radio exposure is brief, so scientists should expand the search to look for possible beacons left by other civilizations. VERDICT Though speculative, Davies's book is science based and gives an objective and thorough update on the search for alien intelligence. All readers interested in astrobiology, SETI, and extraterrestrial life will benefit from this book.—Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado at Denver Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594526032
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Pages: 241
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL DAVIES is an internationally acclaimed physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist at Arizona State University, where he runs the pioneering Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. He also chairs SETI's Post-Detection Taskgroup, so if scientists succeed in finding intelligent life, he will be among the first to know. In addition to his many scientific awards, the Guardian newspaper recently named Davies one of the "masters of the universe," along with Richard Dawkins and Michael Frayn. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestseller The Mind of God, About Time, How to Build a Time Machine, and The Goldilocks Enigma. The asteroid 1992OG was officially renamed Pauldavies in his honor.

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Customer Reviews

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