The Trouble with Counting Alien Civilizations

You might imagine that in the midst of a global pandemic and all of its social and economic fallout that our minds would be laser-focused on immediate, Earthly woes. But apparently not entirely. A case in point is the recent virus-like spread of news headlines to the effect that there should be “at least 36 alien civilizations” in our galaxy. Not 10, not a thousand, or a billion, but 36. There you have it, three dozen other sets of intelligent life dotting our cosmic neighborhood, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

It’s at times like these that you can almost hear the collective sigh from astronomers and astrobiologists who realize that they have to roll up their sleeves to gently, politely, carefully try to explain why these headlines are, shall we say, of the same

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de Nautilus

Nautilus8 min de lecture
Gaia, the Scientist: What if the first woman scientist was simply the first woman?
There exists a social hierarchy within science that strikes people who are not mixed up in it as ridiculous. It goes like this: Mathematicians are superior to Physicists, who are, in turn, superior to Chemists, who are of course, superior to Biologis
Nautilus9 min de lecture
You Can’t Dissect a Virtual Cadaver: What is lost when we lose in-person learning.
Last year, my first in medical school at Columbia University, I used a bone saw to slice through the top half of a cadaver’s skull, revealing a gray brain lined with purple blood vessels. This was Clinical Gross Anatomy, the first-year course that ha
Nautilus9 min de lectureScience & Mathematics
Our Most Effective Weapon Is Imagination: Why science changes everything.
In his Theaetetus, Plato remarks to Socrates: “This pathos is proper to the philosopher: It is the thaumazein. And philosophy has no other point of departure than this.” The word, which contains the root thauma, the same that appears in thaumaturgy,