Extraterrestrials

Extraterrestrials - The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series

Paperback (21 Feb 2020)

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Synopsis

Are we alone in the universe? If not, where is everybody? An engaging exploration of one of the most important unsolved problems in science.

Everything we know about how planets form and how life arises suggests that human civilization on Earth should not be unique. We ought to see abundant evidence of extraterrestrial activity-but we don't. Where is everybody? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, science and technology writer Wade Roush examines one of the great unsolved problems in science: is there life, intelligent or otherwise, on other planets?

This paradox (they're bound to be out there; but where are they?), first formulated by the famed physicist Enrico Fermi, has fueled decades of debate, speculation, and, lately, some actual science. Roush lays out the problem in its historical and modern-day context and summarizes the latest thinking among astronomers and astrobiologists. He describes the long history of speculation about aliens (we've been debating the idea for thousands of years); the emergence of SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) as a scientific discipline in the 1960s, and scientists' use of radio and optical techniques to scan for signals; and developments in astrobiology (the study of how life might arise in non-Earth like environments) and exoplanet research (the discovery of planets outside our solar system). Finally, he discusses possible solutions to the Fermi Paradox and suggests way to refocus SETI work that might increase the chances of resolving the paradox-and finding extraterrestrials.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262538435
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 576.839
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: cm
Weight: 212g
Height: 127mm
Width: 178mm
Spine width: 12mm