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New Cosmos Series

As host of the new TV series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson is following in the footsteps of the late Carl Sagan, the renowned scientist who starred in Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, the classic 1980 program that powerfully influenced many people’s view of science and the universe. Oddly, Tyson, who was in graduate school at the time, recalls that he only had time to catch a few episodes of the original Cosmos when it originally aired. All the same, Sagan still managed to exert a profound personal influence upon his future Cosmos successor, thanks to a meeting between the two that occurred when Tyson was a teenager. 

It happened back in December 1975, when Tyson, a senior from at the Bronx High School of Science who dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist, applied to Cornell University, and his application was forwarded to Sagan, a faculty member. To Tyson’s surprise, he soon received a personal reply. “It was completely surreal,” recalls Tyson. “I’m just a 17-year-old kid, and here’s the most famous scientist in the world—he’d been on Johnny Carson—inviting me to come visit him at his lab.” When Tyson took a bus from New York City to the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y., and walked to the building where Sagan worked, he was even more startled to find the scientist waiting outside for him. After giving Tyson a tour of the lab, autographing one of his books and discussing the Viking Mars lander with him, Sagan gave Tyson a ride back to the bus station. “It had started snowing,” Tyson recalls. “He wrote his home phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to me, saying, ‘If the bus can’t get through, call me, and we’ll put you up for the night.’”

Read the rest of the story at: National Geographic Channel

  • Published in Cosmic

The Drake Equation are we not Alone?

What are our chances of communicating with intelligent aliens? Are there other habitable worlds in our galaxy? Is there life elsewhere in our galaxy? Is there intelligent life? Are there other technological civilizations in our galaxy with whom we can communicate? How can we estimate how many there are of each of these?

In 1961, Dr. Frank Drake developed the Drake Equation to estimate the number of other technological civilizations that exist in our galaxy with whom we can communicate. Use the adapted version below to calculate the number of worlds within our Milky Way Galaxy that have intelligent life whose radio emissions should be detectable.


Use the buttons and sliders and Enter your estimates for each term below. You can learn more about each term and receive some help deciding upon estimated values. The values will be instandly updated.

 

Drake Equation app Credits:

NOVA scienceNOW

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/drake-equation.html

Images

(Frank Drake)
© Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
(Milky Way, star formation, Earth, satellite dishes, meteorite)
© NASA
(star wobble)
produced by the Cornell Theory Center based on research by Alex Wolszczan, Penn State
(bacteria)
© Howard Sochurek/CORBIS
(dolphins)
Courtesy of NOAA

Resources:

http://www.seti.org/drakeequation

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