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Are we alone in the universe ?

July 23rd, 2007

That’s the title of tonight’s talk in the BrisScience program to be presented by # Wilson da Silva, Editor of Cosmos Magazine
# Date: Monday July 23, 2007
# Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm
# Venue: Ithaca auditorium, City Hall

More details over the page and here

We know the probability of intelligent life in the universe is greater than zero – after all, we’re here! But is life a rare occurrence in the cosmos? Is intelligence (and civilisation and technology) just a freak event, never to be repeated? Or does it happen often enough that the universe is humming with the chatter of alien civilisations? Science journalist Wilson da Silva takes a modern look at the Drake Equation, science’s attempt to determine the number of extraterestrial civilisations out there today.

Wilson da Silva is the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmos, the award-winning science magazine, and a former reporter for ABC TV’s Quantum. He’s been editor Newton and 21C, was science editor of ABC Online, and is a former staff journalist at Reuters, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. The winner of 21 awards – including Editor of the Year (twice in a row) for his work on Cosmos – he is the past president of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

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  1. July 23rd, 2007 at 12:27 | #1

    Isn’t the Drake Equation just a complicated way of saying that we really have no idea?

  2. July 23rd, 2007 at 12:58 | #2

    The answer is yes LGM are probably out there, but they’re a long, long way away, getting further away and we’re unlikely to meet them or communicate with them in any useful way.

  3. swio
    July 23rd, 2007 at 16:19 | #3

    I think that when we meet what counts for intelligent life out there it will be so unrecognisable we’ll have a lot of difficulty deciding what it really is. We still don’t have a clue what the whales are saying to each other and they share a planet with us. It might be like trying to talk to an ant colony. In its own way it can be considered intelligent, but can you really communicate with it ?

  4. July 23rd, 2007 at 16:38 | #4

    The whales are saying “if only we had hands then we could write tax policies and introduce the secret ballot and be good social democrats.” 😉

  5. Razor
    July 23rd, 2007 at 17:12 | #5


  6. zebbidies spring
    July 23rd, 2007 at 19:44 | #6

    Dammit…post this a bit earlier on please. I have only just seen this and it’s 7:30pm. Me, the wife and the youngest went to the last one on comets (after the heads-up on this blog) and loved it.

    Now I’ll have to remember all by myself next month. Whinge, whine.

  7. jquiggin
    July 23rd, 2007 at 20:45 | #7

    Sorry about that zs. I missed the notification myself.

  8. July 24th, 2007 at 12:20 | #8

    I think you might be a tad pessimistic carbonsink. All we call rule out is the hypothesis that the “local” part of the universe is teeming with advanced civilizations emitting ridiculously powerful omnidirectional radio beacons.

    In any case, wasn’t it Arthur Clarke who said that “either answer is awe-inspiring”?

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