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From Cosmos to ChaosThe Science of Unpredictability$
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Peter Coles

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567622.001.0001

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Life, the Universe and Everything

Life, the Universe and Everything

Chapter:
(p.180) 10 Life, the Universe and Everything
Source:
From Cosmos to Chaos
Author(s):

Peter Coles (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567622.003.0010

The universe is certainly contrived in such a way as to make life possible within it. The tantalising question that arises then is whether life exists on planets other than Earth. The astronomer Frank Drake came up with an equation to summarise the important factors affecting the chances of detecting radio signals from alien worlds. The Drake equation yields a rough guess of the number of civilisations existing in the Milky Way from which we might get a signal. This chapter also discusses the Fermi paradox, as well as the doomsday argument and its use of the language of probability theory.

Keywords:   universe, Drake equation, doomsday argument, probability theory, Frank Drake, Fermi paradox, radio signals

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