Carl Sagan

  • Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence

    Carl Sagan

    The first international conference on extraterrestrial civilizations and problems of contact with them was held in September 1971 in Soviet Armenia. The conference was a gathering of workers in a wide variety of fields—astronomy, physics, radio technology, computer science, chemistry, biology, linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, history, and cryptoanalysis—and constitutes and international galaxy of scientists including Townes, Crick, Dyson, Drake, Shklovsky, Ginzburg, Platt, Minsky, Ambartsumian, and Morrison. The conference was jointly organized by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the USSR Academy of Sciences. The participants have revised and updated their contributions, and the result is a brilliant and electrifying discussion, touching on many of the most critical questions in science and human affairs. Some of the most fascinating interactions are in the verbatim transcripts of discussions.

    Particular attention is devoted to the following questions: the plurality of planetary systems in the universe, the origin of life on Earth, the possibility of life on other cosmic bodies, the origin and development of technological civilizations, problems in searching for intelligent signals or for evidence of astroengineering activities, and the problems and possible consequences of establishing contact with extraterrestrial civilizations.

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