Week 1

What does “Are We Alone?” Mean?

Are we alone? seems like a simple question. But, who is “we”? What does it mean to be alone? Alone where?… in our stellar neighbourhood? the galaxy? the entire universe? Is “Are we alone?” an important question? Have humans always asked this question? How have our ideas about extraterrestrials changed with time? The range of “expert” answers to these questions is enormous.

The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective
by Carl Sagan, 1973, Cambridge University Press

The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life: A Book of Readings
by Donald Goldsmith (edt) 1980, University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA

The Extraterrestrial Life Debate: Antiquity to 1915
by Michael J. Crowe, 2008, Cambridge University Press

Life on Other Worlds
by Steven J. Dick, 2001, Cambridge University Press

Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds
by Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, 1686, republished 1990, University of California Press

The question “Are We Alone?” in different cultures
by Jean Schneider, 2009 (arXiv)

Making a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about Astrobiology: Why? For Whom? How?
by Charles H Lineweaver, 2019, EPJ Web Conf., 200, 01019 (DOI:10.1051/epjconf/201920001019)

When surveyed about the question "Are We Alone?" most people...