Imagining Life Beyond Earth: A Conversation With Douglas Vakoch – December 11, 2011
Exploratorium Presents Douglas Vakoch, Author of Civilizations Beyond Earth
December 11, 2011
On Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 2pm, join us at the Exploratorium for a talk by author and psychologist Douglas Vakoch, Director of the Interstellar Message Composition for the SETI Institute. Moderating the conversation will be Claire Pillsbury, the Exploratorium’s Osher Fellowship Program Director. The discussion will cover concepts generated from his new book, Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society. This book is a collection of essays, that provide astonishing predictions about intelligence in our vast universe, along with the possibility of communication with extraterrestrials. The author talk is followed by a book signing and reception, and is included in the price of museum admission. A limited number of copies of Civilizations Beyond Earth will be available for purchase in the Exploratorium Store.
In recent years we have discovered extra-solar planets, water on the moon, and forms of life here on earth that have completely changed our notions of where life can live – as well as what might be possible in the landscape of the universe. Against the backdrop of these discoveries it becomes possible to imagine that intelligent forms of life might exist elsewhere. But if we discovered other intelligent life elsewhere, how would we communicate with them – and what would we say? What would the impact be on human societies?
In fact this has been a scenario that has been considered and explored by a wide range of scholars, anthropologists and sociologists among others. In this book, Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society, Vakoch and his colleague, psychologist Albert Harrison, have edited a collection of essays from individuals representing a range of disciplinary views. This compilation acts as a snapshot on the state of thinking about the idea of intelligence elsewhere, and what such an encounter might mean. By imagining life elsewhere, can we learn more about what it means to be a human being living is these times?