the Dial (continued)
Dr. Laurence Doyle is planning ahead, preparing for the day
when humans will need to interpret that long hoped-for message.
Working at the SETI
Institute, founded by Frank Drake in Mountain View, California,
Doyle studies seemingly random animal signals, including dolphin
whistles, squirrel monkey chatter and bee dances. Employing
the same mathematics used to determine the amount of data
that can be sent through a computer line, Doyle's team has
detected levels of organization in each of these forms of
animal communication. The scientists don't know what the animals
are "saying," but Doyle says the same mathematics could be
used to sort a message from intelligent aliens from the meaningless
background noise of space.
projects underway at the SETI Institute include research on
the evolution of stars and planets, the organic chemistry
of meteorites and Martian geology and climatology.
projects sound like they're all over the map," says Doyle.
"But in the context of Drake's Equation, it all makes sense."
it may be centuries or millennia before this work pays off,
the search for extraterrestrial life is teaching us about
our Universe, our solar system and even ourselves. By answering
little questions along the way, humanity might one day learn
the answer to one of our biggest questions, "Are we alone?"
- - - - - - - - - -
pages: | 1 | 2
| 3 | 4