February 21st, 2010

bannakaffalatta, short

Review: Is Anyone Out There by Frank Drake and Dava Sobel

Is Anyone Out There? Is Anyone Out There? by Frank Drake

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a fun scientific memoir, although not as gripping as some of the really great scientific memoirs, like James Watson's The Double Helix. Possibly because there is no great "aha!" moment of discovery in this book, on account of our not having actually detected anything that can be unambiguously identified as a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization. On the other hand, Frank Drake comes across as a really nice guy, which isn't always true of the scientists in great scientific memoirs like The Double Helix.

This book makes an excellent introduction to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence for a non-technical reader. Its main limitation in that respect is that it was published in 1992, and so doesn't cover more recent developments like the SETI At Home project.

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