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The World's Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Edited and with an Introduction by Jim Al-Khalili


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ISBN10: 1250109639
ISBN13: 9781250109637


240 Pages



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In these essays, scientists from around the world weigh in on the latest advances in the search for intelligent life in the universe and discuss just what that might look like. Since 2000, science has seen a surge in data and interest on several fronts related to E.T. (extraterrestrials); A.I. (artificial intelligence); and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence).

Included here are essays from a broad spectrum of the scientific community: cosmologists, astrophysicists, NASA planetary scientists, and geneticists, to name just a few, discussing the latest research and theories relating to alien life. Some of the topics include: If life exists somewhere in space, what are the odds that it evolves into something we would recognize as intelligent? What will space travel look like in the future, and will it all be done by cyborg technology? How long until we are ruled by robot overlords? (This is actually a serious consideration.) Are we simply a simulation in the mind of some supreme being, acting out a virtual reality game?


Praise for Aliens

“Jim Al-Khalili has gathered a useful cross-section of the brightest minds in space science. . . . [Aliens] goes far beyond the what and the where and the when of extraterrestrial-hunting to the biggest conundrum of all: why bother? . . . This book is always lucid and sometimes unexpectedly beautiful.”—The Times (UK)

"Fascinating . . . There’s a little something here for anyone interested in the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, or at least how we imagine it to be.”—Spectrum Culture

“Thought-provoking . . . Must-reading for star-watchers, visionary anthropologists, and everyone wondering if and when the ETs will finally pay us a visit.”—Booklist

“Much like Louisa Preston’s Goldilocks and the Water Bears, this book succeeds in looking much deeper than the typical earthbound definition of life . . . [Aliens] may even be appreciated by curious sf fans and casual readers.”—Library Journal

"A wide array of easily digestible, information-packed essays from researchers writing on various aspects of the search for extraterrestrial life . . . An excellent primer on various concepts and aspects of potential alien life, and the consequences of such an earth-shattering discovery."—Publishers Weekly

About the author

Edited and with an Introduction by Jim Al-Khalili

JIM AL-KHALILI is a quantum physicist, author, and broadcaster based at the University of Surrey in England. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics in 1989 and has published more than a hundred research papers on the subject. He is a well-known presenter of TV and radio in Britain, and his many popular science books have been translated into twenty-six languages. He is a recipient of the Royal Society of London’s Michael Faraday Prize and the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal. In 2016 he received the inaugural Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He lives in Southsea in Hampshire with his wife, Julie.