Thursday, April 3, 2008

Are we alone? - Science Podcast

Are We Alone? is a weekly hour-long radio magazine that covers a wide range of topics relevant to the new science of astrobiology. It is hosted by the SETI Institute's Senior Astronomer, Dr. Seth Shostak. Or in other words, we deal with a scientific grasp at extra-terrestrial life. The radio program is also published as a podcast.

From what I understand, life outside of earth is probable, but what we should expect to see (and maybe have already seen) are microbes from outer space. I remember an issue of In Our Time about Microbiology that had me knocked to the ground with the very notion of how little we know in this field. How vast it is and how varied.

But the real treat is the question whether there can be more complicated forms of life out there. Even if that is likely, we still need to push on and think of intelligent life. Then we hit the Drake Equation, which was analyzed in one of the latest shows of Are We Alone?. This equation tries to estimate the amount of intelligent life in the universe. It involves not just deducting the viable surroundings, but also the span of time an intelligent community remains alive. How long do civilizations live and enjoy their advanced technology? And possibly send out radio-signals that can be picked up by others?

Related reviews:
Plate Tectonics - In Our Time ,
Mutations - In Our Time,
Anitmatter - In Our Time ,
Gravitational waves - In Our Time ,
Roswell New Mexico - Physics for Future Presidents.

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