The editor of the NASA-sponsored Astrobiology Magazine tackles some of the myths and assumptions that underlie SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—tracing how far SETI has come since its modest beginnings, where it is going, and who we are in the cosmic context of things.
There’s so much to unpack here, but Cooper makes it all easy to digest, even as he’s blowing your mind with the sheer immensity of the universe and the incredible distances and challenges involved in locating, let alone communicating with, an alien species. The Contact Paradox is the best of scientific writing: it’s engaging, informative, full of wonder, heartbreakingly honest, and presents all sides fairly. Everything you need to know on the subject is right here.
The Contact Paradox is a fascinating look at the history of SETI and the possibilities inherent to extraterrestrial contact. What Cooper does that is so engaging is address multiple aspects of the issue ... What’s so intriguing about The Contact Paradox is the way Cooper juxtaposes direct conversations about the mechanics of SETI with thoughts about human nature and how that might (or might not) translate into our engagement with aliens should we ever establish communication ... the kind of book that anyone intrigued about what (or who) might be out there among the stars needs to read. It’s a smart and concise look at SETI, the people devoted to it and the potential consequences of its success.
The great virtue of Cooper’s discussion is that it gives readers a picture of living science. Too often, science is presented as fixed, solved, completed. Cooper shows us scientists disagreeing, presenting and supporting alternative theories, and gives clear discussions of the differing views, letting the science live ... the source of fascinating insights.