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RS 203 - Stephen Webb on “Where is Everybody? Solutions to the Fermi Paradox.”

Release date: March 4th, 2018

Stephen Webb

In 1950, the great physicist Enrico Fermi posed a question that people have been puzzling over ever since: Where is everybody? The universe has been around for billions of years, so why haven't we seen any signs of alien civilizations? This episode features physicist Stephen Webb, who describes some of the potential solutions to the puzzle. Stephen and Julia also discuss questions such as: What evidence have we gotten so far that helps us answer the Fermi problem? How do we estimate how rare/difficult it is for human-level intelligence to evolve? And why does it matter what the answer to Fermi's question is?

Stephen's Website

Stephen's Pick: "The Cosmic Zoo: Complex Life on Many Worlds"

Eternity in Six Hours by Stuart Armstrong and Anders Sandberg

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox by Anders Sandberg

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science


Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (11)

Maybe the aliens just don't like humans and have decided to hide themselves from us.
March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
Another possible sticking point is that other intelligent life may not have the chemical elements needed for complex technology on the surface of their planet. Even on Earth, our use of precious metals in electronics is probably contingent on meteorites enriching the crust in these elements during the Late Heavy Bombardment.

I especially enjoyed the bit toward the end of the podcast about multiplying probability distributions as a better way to frame the Drake Equation. I'll have to find that article.
March 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStephenM
The Drake equation estimates the number of civilizations emitting signals, but what are the odds that those signals reach us when our civilization is capable of detecting them? Is it like neutrinos and gravitational waves that reach us all the time, and we just need the right sensor to detect them? Or did the ET signals reach us a million years ago and will reach us again in a million years?
March 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Your site has a lot of useful information for myself. I visit regularly. Hope to have more quality items.
March 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercolor switch 2
Somewhere deep in the Amazon rainforest, a lost tribe is pondering what are the odds that there's intelligent life outside the forest.
Someone should draw a cartoon of it.
March 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMax
No mention of James Webb?
March 12, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlion
Will be recommending you and your articles to writing friends.Thank you for your generosity. This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for providing these details.
March 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStreet view
Perhaps civilization we do not know. UFO stories are everywhere
March 20, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbloxorz
This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it
May 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commentersmith
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September 1, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteranju chauhan
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October 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOmegaindl

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