The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

Book - 2021
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"Provocative and thrilling ... Loeb asks us to think big and to expect the unexpected."

--Alan Lightman, New York Times bestselling author of Einstein's Dreams and Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

Harvard's top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star.

In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, Harvard's top astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization.

In Extraterrestrial , Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars--and to think critically about what's out there, no matter how strange it seems.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021.
Copyright Date: ©2021.
ISBN: 9780358278146
Branch Call Number: 576.839 LOEB
Characteristics: xvii, 222 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Harvard's top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star.

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Apr 26, 2021

Too little about Oumuaamuaa, as important as it may have been, and too much about his own self-importance.
Sadly, there is little science in this book but tons of things about ME, the author

Apr 19, 2021

Dr. Loeb's argument in this book is in two parts.

One, 'Oumuaamuaa behaved in ways that we can't explain if we assume it is a naturally occuring comet, but that we can explain if we consider it to be a solar sail. He marshalls these arguments beautifully, without driving away the casual reader with too much mathematics.

Two, too much of modern science - or at least modern physics and astrophysics - is crippled by scientists who prefer mathematical theory and conjecture to measureable facts. We need to encourage students to study reality and what they can measure, instead of only theorizing about things we cannot yet measure.

His personal anecdotes can come across as almost smarmy - but he is a farm boy who became one of the planet's leading astrophysicists, so it is nice to met a man who is both brilliant and very down-to-earth.

Apr 03, 2021

The book is really two in one. The first is called Extraterrestrial - First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. The second could be entitled Terrestrial - First Sign of Intelligent Life ON Earth- with its focus on self-promotion including the author’s perfect family life and his stunning brilliance. I soon found the latter tiresome and abandoned the book. After all, there is so much else to read, so little time.

Mar 27, 2021

This is an excellent book. It is not about “are there or are there not extraterrestrials?”. This is about the thinking and history that go along with this long time question. The historical references are perfect. It’s fact laden and at times a page turner written by a human with stellar credentials. It pairs very well with Bill Gates book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster. It’s time for humankind to take a giant leap forward.

Mar 18, 2021

Although catalogued 576.839 LOE in the Science & Mathematics Non-Fiction, it is really speculative science fiction.

👽 His argument depends on what he calls the "Oumuamua wager," reworking Pascal's wager, which says it's better for you to believe in God than not. Loeb says it's better for you to believe in his extraterrestrials than not, so why not go along? The problem with this argument, like Pascal's, is that it's not such as to compel belief. The best you can say is that it's better for you to act like you believe. I would say it's bad for you to be a phony, acting like you believe, when you know you're only doing it because good things will happen to you if you do, which is exactly the whole assumption of the wager. You could justify a lot that way!
The interstellar object Oumuamua is likely a piece of a planet rich in nitrogen that broke off about 500 million years ago and is shaped more like a cookie than a cigar, according to findings presented at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference and reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. Researchers used computer models focusing on Oumuamua's shape, size and shininess to determine the object's possible origins. Full story: The Associated Press, 3/17, and Ars Technica, 3/18. Nuf sed.


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