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Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded

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Cosmic Solitude, Exoplanets, and Books

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe. If you haven’t read it, you should.

The Strand Bookstore in New York (what a bookstore should be, and an institution in its own right) hosted us for a discussion and conversation that ranged from the hunt for other worlds, to space exploration, the origins of life, and even a bit of politics. It was a terrific evening, and between the two of us we may have even said some interesting (possibly even profound!) things – you can judge for yourselves by watching the event here.

Caleb A. Scharf About the Author: Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's multidisciplinary Astrobiology Center. He has worked in the fields of observational cosmology, X-ray astronomy, and more recently exoplanetary science. His books include Gravity's Engines (2012) and The Copernicus Complex (2014) (both from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) Follow on Twitter @caleb_scharf.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Uncle.Al 12:01 pm 01/10/2014

    Discover a simulacrum-Earth with unnatural radio emissions 100 lightyears distant (next door). We rig Arecibo to tightly beam 100 MW of “Howdy!” powered by burning activated sludge. The answer arrives 220 years later, faintly bathing the ruins of humanity wondering why the Gods put valuable iron bars in rock. (If somebody has a star drive, there will be only one civilization in the neighborhood.)
    2234 will not be good year, whether calendars exist or not.

    Link to this

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