Cover image for Aliens : can we make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?
Aliens : can we make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?
Clark, Andrew J. H.
Personal Author:
First Fromm International edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Fromm International, 1999.
Physical Description:
vii, 293 pages ; 24 cm
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QB54 .C564 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QB54 .C564 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Draws on extensive knowledge of contemporary physics and astronomy to describe the latest attempts to locate extraterrestrials and to explore the philosophical implications of that search.

Author Notes

Andrew J. H. Clark is a physicist and philosopher
Dr. David H. Clark, Ph.D. led the space astronomy research team at the Rutherford Appelton Laboratory in Oxford

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although its title may conjure up visions of The X-Files, this sensible book has more affinity with the movie Contact. Above all, it is a plea for continued support of SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence), presently conducted as the privately funded Project Phoenix due to the withdrawal of government backing. Although readers of other major books on this subject, such as the classic Are We Alone? by Paul Davies or the more recent Probability One, will be familiar with much of the material here, this is a solid primer for those new to the actual science involved in current efforts to find ETI. The authors, a British father-and-son team (pŠre David is the author of The Cosmos from Space; Andrew is a physicist and philosopher), address three crucial questions. Why have 40 years of searching not been fruitful? What is the probability that intelligent life will evolve on other planets? And, if it is there, why hasn't it come here? Readers are walked gently through the history of both the American and Soviet programs, the Drake equation (a means of organizing the factors necessary for an advanced alien civilization) and the fundamentals of astronomy, geology, biology, etc., needed to assess the likelihood of other technologically sophisticated civilizations evolving. While still promoting the search via radio astronomy for alien beacons, the authors hope to revive serious consideration that an alien research probe or survey may have visited (or will visit) our planet. Amateur exobiologists are encouraged to download SETI@home ( to turn their screensavers into signal-finding number-crunchers, and those who have read this well-reasoned book and wish to look further are advised to join a legitimate research group such as the Planetary Society, founded by Carl Sagan. Agent, Al Zuckerman of Writers House. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Clark and Clark offer what are definitely the most thorough discussions about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence yet presented to the world community. These two scientists examine all possible scenarios and arguments with profound intellectual depth in a spirited, optimistic discourse, in great contrast to most superficial treatments. No special knowledge is required to follow the reasoning in this fascinating and balanced report about the scientific and engineering challenges in this important endeavor. Do extraterrestrial civilizations exist? How would we find them? Or how would they find us? What scientific limitations affect the search? Is this effort the greatest scientific search of all time, or is it fantasy? Here are the arguments for both sides. An extensive glossary and index, but no drawings, images, or references. General readers; undergraduates; two-year technical program students. F. Potter; University of California, Irvine

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
Part A The SETI Question
1. The Drake Equationp. 21
2. A Tale of Two SETIsp. 57
3. Absence of Evidencep. 89
Part B The McCrea Question
4. Living Planetsp. 119
5. The Emergence of Lifep. 153
Part C The Fermi Question
6. Spaceships from the Starsp. 187
7. Hunting IMETIp. 223
Epilogue: What Next?p. 251
Glossary: Common Scientific Terms Relevant to the Search for ETIp. 257
Bibliographyp. 280
So You Want to Be a SETI Scientist?p. 282
Indexp. 285
About the Authorsp. 293