The Fermi Paradox

Date: 28th November 2017

Start Time: 10 am (Registration from 9.30 am)
End Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: 27/29 South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1SZ

This event is sold out. Please ring the office on 020 7735 3160 if you are interested in attending; we will hold a waiting list in case of cancellations. Thank you for understanding. 

The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) will host a one day symposium to discuss the problems posed by the Fermi Paradox. The format will be similar to the well attended and liked symposium on ‘Future Histories and Forecasting’ held on the 25th January this year, with 10-12 speakers, refreshment breaks and lunch supplied.  

The history and basic ideas of the Fermi Paradox (1950) are well known. Also, the Drake method (1961) of calculating the possible number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy (mis-named an ‘equation’ rather than ‘formula’, which better describes it) is also familiar as an indicator of the acuteness of the problem posed by Fermi. After well over fifty years, the problem posed by the apparent absence of intelligent extra-terrestrials is no nearer an agreed credible solution than at the start. None of the terms in the Drake ‘equation’ have even been inarguably evaluated.

As Arthur C Clarke pointed out, the definite knowledge of the presence or absence of intelligent extra-terrestrials will be sensational, whichever it is. As the current trend in thinking is tending to the latter answer (we are alone), it would seem that we are either the first or that the lifetime of human technical civilization is likely to be very short. The time has come to review the facts as they appear at the moment and to discuss their implications.

The symposium will be chaired by Alistair Scott and Gerry Webb and presenters are listed here in the final programme.

Be sociable; support the BIS!