Paul Davies discusses extraterrestrial life next week

Whether or not we are alone in the universe is one of the oldest questions of philosophy. About 50 years ago it became part of science when astronomers began sweeping the skies with radio telescopes in the hope of picking up a message from an extraterrestrial civilization. After half a century of nothing but an eerie silence, what can we conclude? Many scientists assume that life will pop up easily on earth-like planets, but this is merely a belief. How can we test it? One way is to seek out a second sample of life right here on Earth – a sort of shadow biosphere.

On Friday, Oct. 12, Paul Davies, well-known theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author, will give a lecture titled “The Eerie Silence: ET, Where Are You?” During the talk, he will cover recent attempts to track down “shadow” microbes and present some bold new ideas for detecting the subtle footprints of advanced alien technology.

Davies’ research interests are focused on the “big questions” of existence. His 28 books have been translated into more than 20 languages and are notable for presenting complex ideas in accessible terms.

The lecture takes place at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium. Tickets are $7. For more information, call 630-840-ARTS or visit the Fermilab Lecture Series website.