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Extraterrestrial Languages Reviews

Extraterrestrial Languages by Daniel Oberhaus

Extraterrestrial Languages

Daniel Oberhaus

Score pending

1 review

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publication date: 18 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780262043069

If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand?

4 stars out of 5
9 Nov 2019

"shows how many areas of thought the seemingly simple question ‘how do we communicate with aliens?’ touches on"

Extraterrestrial Languages is not light; published by the MIT Press, it reads like an academic work. I was surprised, after finishing it, to discover that Oberhaus was a science writer and not an academic himself. But it is worth the effort, not least because it shows how many areas of thought the seemingly simple question ‘how do we communicate with aliens?’ touches on: Chomskyan linguistics, physics (microwaves would be the best medium, because they get through the atmosphere, and the galaxy’s background noise is quietest in those wavelengths), and existential risk (Martin Ryle, the former Astronomer Royal, warned that broadcasting our position to the universe might be the equivalent of shouting in a jungle), to name three.

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