The Eerie Silence: Book summary and reviews of The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies

The Eerie Silence

Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence

by Paul Davies

The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies X
The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies
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Book Summary

Are we alone in the universe? This is surely one of the biggest questions of human existence, yet it remains frustratingly unanswered. In this provocative book, one of the world's leading scientists explains why the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded, and how it can be done.

Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake first pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

After a half-century of scanning the skies, however, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence—eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. Could it be, wonders physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, that we’ve been looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way?

Davies has been closely involved with SETI for three decades, and chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we're suddenly confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. He believes the search so far has fallen into an anthropocentric trap—assuming that an alien species will look, think, and behave much like us. In this mind-expanding book he refocuses the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if it does.

The Eerie Silence provides a penetrating assessment of the evidence, past and present, and an exciting new road map for the future.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Highly recommended for both science fiction and astronomy buffs." - Publishers Weekly

"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." - Library Journal

"Paul Davies gives us a panoramic view of the quickening search for cosmic company—a fascinating tale stuffed with novel ideas about the nature of intelligence far beyond our own." - Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute

"Are we looking for life in all the wrong places? This is the deep scientific question that inspires Paul Davies’ The Eerie Silence. With clarity and passion, Davies not only brings you up to speed on the cutting-edge perspective, he also presents his own preferred strategies for making contact. Within may be found some scenarios that even the sci-fi writers haven’t tumbled on yet. A feast for thought about the most fascinating mystery of all." - Ann Druyan, creative director, NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Message, and co-creator, with Carl Sagan, of Contact

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Author Information

Paul Davies

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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