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eBook If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life download
Author: Stephen Webb
ISBN: 1441930299
Subcategory: Astronomy & Space Science
Pages 288 pages
Publisher Copernicus; Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2002 edition (December 1, 2010)
Language English
Category: Science
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 516
ePUB size: 1498 kb
FB2 size: 1881 kb
DJVU size: 1806 kb
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eBook If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life download

by Stephen Webb

Stephen Webb uses the so-called Fermi Paradox .

Stephen Webb uses the so-called Fermi Paradox as a launchpad for the discussion.

Where Is Everybody? book. This book is a compendium of fifty possible explanations of that sort, from the stolidly scientific to the wildly speculative - and flawed: many contain assumptions about alien psychology for instance (just one alien civilization behaving differently from the rest would flood the galaxy with radio transmissions or speeding spaceships).

Chapter 1 Where Is Everybody? Chapter 2 Of Fermi and Paradox. Stephen Webb DCQE University of Portsmouth Portsmouth United Kingdom. Chapter 3 They Are (or Were) Here.

Copernicus Books, New York, 2002. or their manifestations

Copernicus Books, New York, 2002. How we measure 'reads'. or their manifestations. Being a mathematical prodigy, it was easy for Fermi to. estimate that, even going at a modest fraction of the speed of light, the time it. would take to cross galactic distances is small compared to the Universe’s age. The.

In this lively and thought-provoking book, Stephen Webb presents a detailed discussion of the 50 most cogent and . Stephen Webb is a physicist working at the Open University in England and the author of Measuring the Universe. 24 people like this topic.

Aliens exist, but have not yet communicated.

We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. Written by Joanie Faletto June 11, 2018. Our Best Articles Daily.

Where Is Everybody?: In a 1950 conversation at Los Alamos, four .

Webb discusses in detail the 50 most cogent and intriguing solutions to Fermi's famous paradox. Every textbook comes with a 21-day "Any Reason" guarantee.

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In a 1950 conversation at Los Alamos, four world-class scientists generally agreed, given the size of the Universe, that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations must be present. But one of the four, Enrico Fermi, asked, "If these civilizations do exist, where is everybody?" Given the fact that there are perhaps 400 million stars in our Galaxy alone, and perhaps 400 million galaxies in the Universe, it stands to reason that somewhere out there, in the 14 billion-year-old cosmos, there is or once was a civilization at least as advanced as our own. Webb discusses in detail the 50 most cogent and intriguing solutions to Fermi's famous paradox.
Scoreboard Bleeding
This book was well researched, with many references to various scientific theories about extraterrestrial civilizations as well as some interesting science fiction stories dealing with aliens. It was a fairly thorough review of the subject for the general public and was generally well written, but some discussions I found a bit too detailed - I had to skim through the several pages of discussion of DNA, RNA etc as it was too tedious for me (maybe others would think differently). Many different theories are discussed, from the practical (difficulties of spaceflight and interstellar communication) to the highly theoretical (parallel universes).
If you're toying with the idea of buying this book: Do it! It will blow your imagination wide open and give your brain fodder for weeks, if not more.

This book is a wonderfully informative introduction to the wide range of thinking about the subject of the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Stephen Webb uses the so-called Fermi Paradox as a launchpad for the discussion.

The Fermi Paradox is this: The numbers, along with the sound principle that there is nothing obviously special about Earth and its immediate environs, suggest that it's highly unlikely that we are the only forms of life in the Galaxy, and certainly not in the Universe! However, there remains the one incontrovertible fact in the whole discussion: there is simply no evidence for anyone else.

The question is: "Why?"

Webb considers 50 proposed answers to this question. In my estimation, he gives most of them as fair a shake as they deserve (if not fairer), and this is one of the most impressive aspects of the book. In a subject like this, where there is very little concrete evidence to restrain the sort of wild speculation and pontification of which people are so fond, it is very easy to get dogmatic one way or the other and to dismiss others' ideas without fair trial.

Webb, by contrast, proves extremely judicious, balanced, and careful in his analysis of the various proposed solutions to the Fermi Paradox. Obviously his word is not final, but he doesn't pretend that it is. He takes care to remind the reader of the speculative nature of any proposed solution to the problem, including his own.

As a beginner to thinking about extraterrestrial life, I found this book extremely useful as a guide to the options (so to speak) that are on the table right now. He classifies the solutions of the Fermi Paradox as being of three types:

1) Aliens are, or have been, here, but for one reason or another we haven't noticed it yet.
2) Aliens are out there, but for one reason or another they either cannot or will not communicate with us.
3) There are no (intelligent) aliens.

Under each of these headings fall a number of proposed answers to Fermi's question "If there are aliens, then where are they?" Some of them are delightfully thought-provoking, such as the idea that our Solar System is a sort of Galactic Zoo; others are a bit bizarre, such as the notion that we live in a simulation or "planetarium" built by aliens deliberately to deceive us into believing we're alone; and some are frightening, such as the idea that extraterrestrials haven't shown up yet simply because they were long ago annihilated by strange creatures of their own devising, called "berserkers", or the idea that too many alien civilizations have been killed off by a supernova, a gamma-ray burster, or some such catastrophe.

Webb's own (tentative) conclusion is that the solution of the Fermi paradox is that there are no intelligent aliens. He makes a clever analogy with the Sieve of Eratosthenes (used to find prime numbers by process of elimination) to whittle down the number of civilizations that might be trying to interact with us to essentially zero. Again, however, Webb is not dogmatic about this view; he acknowledges that the jury is still very much out on the question. However, he makes a fairly strong argument that the obstacles in the way of the flowering of intelligent life are too formidable to presume, as many do, that they have been overcome very often at all, even in a Universe as vast as this.

That said, I would not bet so much as a dollar of my own money that we are alone. I do not believe Webb has done full justice either to the number of stars in the Universe, to the Mediocrity Principle, or to the difficulties of interstellar communication. That last one really sticks in my craw. Too often, I hear arguments like this: "Sure, space travel is difficult. But it's not impossible, especially for alien civilizations that are surely far in advance of our own!" It took us 35 billion dollars, ten years, and millions of hours of labor from the brightest minds on the planet - just to get to the Moon! (Once we had accumulated the necessary knowledge over the centuries!) That is literally child's play compared with the sort of travel that alien visitation would require. As far as space probes go, we humans - in all our glory - have managed to send a paltry 4 objects out of the solar system, and as far as I know we have been unable to maintain communication with them.

As I say, it's easy (too easy!) to counter this by simply imagining "advanced" alien civilizations who have somehow worked out all the nitty gritty details that we still struggle with. All I want to say (and I am no expert at this point) is that, if there is such a thing as an unsolvable problem, efficient and worthwhile interstellar travel might be it. (Of course, if this is the case, then there may as well be no aliens at all....)

What about communication, via electromagnetic waves or lasers or what-not? Here again, I think Webb's conclusion does no justice to the sheer difficulty of interacting in this way on the scales involved. The distances are so large, the targets are so small, and the possible frequencies are so many that I think it's no cause for surprise or concern that we've found nothing yet. In fact, I think the biggest worry is that, regardless of whether or not aliens are "out there", the task is pretty much equally hopeless in each case!

Also, I'd like to point out that, even with all the resources at our disposal, we have located fewer than 500 confirmed exoplanets to this date (although recently enormous progress has been made by the Kepler mission). I think this shows that, even if you are an advanced civilization, you can't just pick up a telescope, point it at the sky, and find planets - let alone find whatever life may be on those planets!

Too often "alien" is taken as synonymous with "superhuman", and there is just no real reason to think the two are interchangeable.

In any case, buy Stephen Webb's book. Read it. Then read it again! You won't regret it!
The author provides an objective and intellectually honest assessment of the question of our uniqueness as a species in an immense universe. All the proposed solutions to what is called "The Fermi Paradox" are presented in detail with the author’s personal assessment of each proposal. As I worked through all the various arguments for and against the idea that we are alone in the universe, I not only learned much about the subject but found the journey absolutely mind expanding. I especially liked the rational discussion of the "flying saucer" phenomenon and the issues of whether intelligent aliens have been here or are here now. I found this book extremely thought provoking and found Mr. Webb’s conclusions to be profound and for me ultimately unforgettable. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever wondered if we are alone.
"Where Is Everybody" is a very readable and enjoyable book that offers 50 possible answers to the question "are we alone in the universe?". The answers offered range from incredibly absurd to extremely thought-provoking. The book does not offer any unique insights or ideas which have not been suggested before. Its value lies in the collection of all of these ideas in a single volume. I found the book enjoyable and easy to read (most of the time).
I do have two complaints, however: (1) the book is somewhat repetitive, and I frequently got the sense that the same solution was offered multiple times for the sole purpose of reaching a total of 50 solutions; (2) portions of the book are poorly structured and needlessly use scientific concepts which are not adequately explained in the book. This is most notable in the sections of the book that discuss the biochemistry of life on earth.
Bottom line, I really enjoyed "Where Is Everybody?" and I warmly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.
In this engagingly readable book, physicist Stephen Webb offers fifty solutions to the Fermi Paradox concerning the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. He focuses on communicating civilizations, the ones that would be easiest to detect. Webb divides the solutions into three broad categories: They Are Here, They Exist but Have Not Yet Communicated, and They Do Not Exist. Most of the proposed solutions are meant to be taken seriously, but others seem whimsical. Some of the most interesting material is in the notes at the back of the book.
In the end, Webb sides with the third theme: They Do Not Exist. Such a conclusion is almost certainly premature. Given the very limited searches conducted so far, we easily could have missed evidence of a technological civilization. Our assumptions about what to look for may be wrong. Radio may characterize a phase of technology that more advanced cultures leave behind. Even those intelligences that never broadcast interstellar radio signals and never send interstellar probes to check out other planetary systems could be of great interest. The search is far from over.
While Webb's fifty reasons are indicative, they are by no means comprehensive. Nor is his conclusion definitive. There still is plenty of room for disciplined speculation about this fascinating question.