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Publisher's Summary

Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake 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). But after a half century of scanning the skies, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence---eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. The problem, argues leading physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, is that we've been looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way. Davies should know. For more than three decades, he has been closely involved with SETI and now chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we're confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. In this extraordinary book, he shows how SETI has lost its edge, then offers a new and exciting road map for the future.
Davies believes that our search so far has been overly anthropocentric: we tend to assume an alien species will look, think, and behave like us. He argues that we need to be far more expansive in our efforts, and in this book he completely redefines 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 we ever do make contact. A provocative and mind-expanding journey, The Eerie Silence will thrill fans of science and science fiction alike.
©2010 Paul Davies (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Paul Davies has written a most delightful book, perhaps the most thoughtful, thorough, and comprehensive book ever published on the key question: are we alone in the universe? Davies addresses one of the most pivotal questions facing humanity, and does it with wit, style, and rigor. The Eerie Silence will satisfy the curiosity of anyone interested in big cosmic questions about intelligence in the universe." (Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics and author of Physics of the Impossible, Hyperspace, and Parallel Worlds)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael J Canning on 05-03-14

Equal parts history, science, informed speculation

What made the experience of listening to The Eerie Silence the most enjoyable?

This book is an excellent listen. At the outset, the author does an excellent job of setting the table, summarizing everything we know to date about the possibility of extraterrestrial life, from science and from theory. Specific programs (notably SETI), physical laws, experimental observations, astronomical and cosmological phenomena, are all covered. From there, the author consider various possibilities for what and where ET might be, and how it might be discovered. His discussion proceeds according to a chain of inductive reasoning, taking the listener through one fact pattern after another, and explaining the conclusions about alien life that would appear to flow from each. His analysis is well organized, beginning with conclusions we might draw from the limited evidence we understand today, then moving on to consider evidence that we do not have today, but that science may be able establish in the future. Finally, he does a great job of explaining the limitations imposed by science and physics, and where the science runs out, he applies theory, math, and imagination, to take the reader through an intelligent and well-reasoned summary of where we may end up. The book leaves with listener with much to consider. At the same time, for a book that focuses on a subject as inherently mysterious and unknowable as ET, the Eerie Silence leaves the listener remarkably satisfied. I would recommend it to anyone who wonders why - in a universe compromised of trillions of stars - we feel so alone.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gary on 10-30-12

I love the topic and I love this book

This is a great book. The greatest potentially answerable question 'are we alone in the universe?' is explored from every imaginable perspective and with its possible ramifications. I don't think any one explains science to non-scientist better than Paul Davies does. He excels at giving both sides of an argument to a dilemma and lets the reader make the informed decision.

The book doesn't just look at radio astronomy but considers all the other evidence or lack of evidence for what it takes for other intelligence to be elsewhere in the universe. For example, the lack of evidence for non-DNA based life on earth or other planets in our solar system implies that life might not be as easily created as some might state. No systematic harnessing of black hole energy through out parts of the galaxy implies we just might be alone.

The narrator is the same one who read "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil. That is good since the themes between the books overlap so much and my mind would naturally go back to that book as I was listening to this book. He gives the best refutation to the Fermi Paradox I've seen so far.

This book is much more than what the title implies. He covers everything related to "are we alone?" and fairly provides all relevant arguments to the table. He has his opinions and states them but always realizing that it's just his opinion and there are not necessarily right answers.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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