Extraterrestrial intelligence and the Fermi paradox

The Milky Way contains 100 billion stars. So where is everybody? (The spacecraft shown in this artist’s impression is one of ours: it’s ESA’s Gaia space observatory.)Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab; background: ESO/S. Brunier One of the highlights of IAUS 367 is Nikos Prantzos, from the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, on “the quest for extraterrestrial intelligenceContinue reading “Extraterrestrial intelligence and the Fermi paradox”

Where did our sense of curiosity come from?

My recent article for I-M on solar eclipses and the Fermi paradox is now available online. As Daniel C Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist, has observed, searching for explanations is a central feature of our species. Where does our sense of curiosity come from? As an exercise in fun speculation, I propose it couldContinue reading “Where did our sense of curiosity come from?”

The pump of curiosity

The summer 2020 issue of I-M Intelligent Magazine… … includes “an exercise in fun speculation” by me on a potential link between solar eclipses and the Fermi paradox. According to the Copernican principle, there is nothing special about the earth’s place in the universe. Except for the awkward fact that — on current evidence —Continue reading “The pump of curiosity”