Are we alone in the Universe?

Are we alone in the universe? No, perhaps. Who knows? When this question strike Dr Enrico Fermi, Nobel Physicist, it became the famous debate between philosophers and physicists popularly known as Fermi’s Paradox. It is basically a philosophical exposition that since the origin of the universe, probabilistically of course, there could have been at least ten thousand stars in our galaxy alone to develop optimal conditions for what we understand as an intelligent life. Taking the probability further, we find that there could have been at least a thousand intelligent civilizations by now which could have developed necessary technology for extragalactic, or at least intra-galactic exploration.

We know from the mathematics here that there could have been at least a hundred far advanced civilizations in our galaxy alone. It that is the case then why haven’t we been contacted yet? And as Fermi famously asked his colleagues in the Los Alamos Laboratory, “Where are they?”

His question not only stirred the physics community but also the general public and fiction writers thus, kind of, starting an era where books were based on a civilization based on an exoplanet or a different galaxy. Mr. Spock became a hero of that age.

Modern physicists argue the nature of contact. Carl Sagan was the pioneer who argued the importance of contact following which the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) mission got great support not only from NASA but the United States Government. This was the time when United Nations established a Dept. for Outer Space Affairs. Sceptics like Stephen Hawking argue that the extra-terrestrials might be preying for resources. Thus, our efforts in trying to contact “THEM” might be curse in disguise.

There is a huge amount of research happening in the field, but one cannot argue on solid grounds that they might exist. I am not an fan of controversial theorist Eirich von Daniken who argued that we are seeded by extraterrestrial beings on Earth as a part of an experiment but he lacked basis. No logical dialogue can be based on euphoria alone.

With the emergence of string theory, we came to understand that there can be many more dimensions than just the four we know. This led controversial theorist argue that there can exist higher dimensional beings, who might influence the physical phenomenon, you can recall the gravitational anomalies in the movie Interstellar, but cannot appear comprehensible to us.

The mathematicians argue that despite the rigor of mathematics and refined calculations with the Drake’s equation which narrows down the probabilistic factors to real numbers, the absence of an alien signal is spooky.

It is arguable whether the aliens, as we call them in popular culture, exist or not but I believe it would be a shame if we were alone in the vast expanse of light. Life has to be a property of the universe. If that is not the case and if we are really alone in the universe then it is both fascinating and terrifying thing at the same time.

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