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Answering Fermi’s Paradox

We have confirmed thousands of planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, so we now know that planetary systems are the rule and not the exception in the universe.  We also know that some fraction of those planets are Earth-like.  With so many “Earths” in the universe, why haven’t we found life anywhere else, why isn’t the universe full of extraterrestrial communications, and where is everyone?  Normally attributed to Enrico Fermi, the question of where is everybody is more relevant today than when it was first asked about 70 years ago.  There have been many explanations put forth as answers to the Fermi Paradox.  Some are mundane, such as complex life and intelligence are extremely rare.  Others are technical, such as we are not listening in the right way or we can’t recognize the signals.  And there are also many bizarre and outlandish explanations:  we are living in a “zoo”, we are all part of a virtual reality, or the aliens are already among us.  In this course, we will learn about Fermi’s Paradox and then explore some of its potential solutions.  A connection between these and campus life at ASU will be made with an emphasis on how students can solve their own Fermi Paradox.

Section

F 07

Day/Time

MW 12:00 - 12:50pm

Professor

Kenneth Carrell

Dept.

Physics and Geosciences
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