Episode 8: Stephen Webb | Fermi's Paradox | Click to Listen


In this episode, British astronomer Stephen Webb and I discuss Fermi's paradox - one of the deepest and most delightful mysteries in the universe!

Also, the wonderful blog Boing Boing is co-promoting this episode (full description below). Just click the play button above to listen. My co-host Tom Merritt and I discuss pages 464-547 of the novel toward the end.

You can subscribe to the podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app's search function (type in "After On") to find & subscribe.

Or, to subscribe from your computer click here then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (left side of the page under the After On image) then click “Subscribe” (similar location) in the iTunes window. Or simply follow the feed http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss



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After On Podcast #8: Stephen Webb and Fermi's Paradox (from Boing Boing)

If you’ve ever looked around and wondered, where are all the aliens, hit Play, below. No, you won’t find an alien. But you’ll hear a luxuriously unhurried with British astronomer Stephen Webb. He has probably given this question more careful attention than any living person, and many (but by no means all) of his reflections can be found in his brilliant book, Where Is Everybody.

Fermi.jpeg

This is the eighth episode of my podcast series (co-hosted by Tom Merritt), which launched here on Boing Boing last month. The series goes deep into the science, tech, and sociological issues explored in my novel After On – but no familiarity with the novel is necessary to listen to it.

Today’s interviewee is a world-leading expert on the subject of Fermi’s paradox – which is encapsulated in his book’s title. And the paradox’s roots are quite literally as old as Earth itself.

Life arose here – presumably from dead matter – almost as soon as the collisions and volcanism of planetary formation calmed enough to permit its existence. If that’s a normal pattern, billions of planets out there should harbor some form of life. Because some of those planets are billions of years older than ours, their brainier occupants could have far surpassed today’s technology when our forerunners still had fins. Yet we see no evidence of this. And it’s not for a lack of seeking it, as there are scientists who have done little else for decades.

There isn’t just one possible solution to Fermi’s paradox. There are at least 75 by Stephen’s count, and we discuss several. Our interview is delightfully wide-ranging, as Fermi solutions touch on every aspect of science, and several branches of sociology. This makes the paradox a worthy subject of study for anyone - even those with zero interest in extraterrestrials.

You can subscribe to my podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app's search function (type in "After On") to find and subscribe. To subscribe via your computer on iTunes, just click here, then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (on the left side of the page), then click “Subscribe” (in a similar location) in the iTunes window. Or follow the feed http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss

 

Rob Reid