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The Drake Equation: Estimating the Prevalence of Extraterrestrial Life through the Ages

Fully accessible to non-specialists; this volume provides a comprehensive overview of the field of astrobiology
Makes clear the links between astrobiology and SETI and includes discussions of intelligence and culture beyond the scope of those typically emphasized by NASA
Written by leading scientists and science historians in the field

Series: Cambridge Astrobiology Volume: 8

By: Douglas A Vakoch (Editor), Matthew F Dowd (Editor), Frank Drake (Foreword By), Steven J Dick (Introduction By), Paul Davies (Afterword by)

340 pages, 45 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2015 | #221108 | ISBN-13: 9781107073654
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £103.00 $130/€122 approx

About this book

In this compelling book, leading scientists and historians explore the Drake Equation, which guides modern astrobiology's search for life beyond Earth. First used in 1961 as the organising framework for a conference in Green Bank, West Virginia, it uses seven factors to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilisations in our galaxy. Using the equation primarily as a heuristic device, this engaging text examines the astronomical, biological, and cultural factors that determine the abundance or rarity of life beyond Earth and provides a thematic history of the search for extraterrestrial life. Logically structured to analyse each of the factors in turn, and offering commentary and critique of the equation as a whole, contemporary astrobiological research is placed in a historical context. Each factor is explored over two chapters, discussing the pre-conference thinking and a modern analysis, to enable postgraduates and researchers to better assess the assumptions that guide their research.


Contents

List of contributors
Foreword Frank Drake
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction Steven Dick

1. Rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life, R*, pre-1961 David DeVorkin
2. Rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life, R*, 1961 to the present Patrick Francois and Danielle Briot
3. Fraction of stars with planetary systems, fp, pre-1961 Matthew F. Dowd
4. Fraction of stars with planetary systems, fp, 1961 to the present Chris Impey
5. Number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life, ne, pre-1961 Florence Raulin Cerceau
6. Number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life, ne, 1961 to the present Danielle Briot and Jean Schneider
7. Fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears, fl, pre-1961 Stephane Tirard
8. Fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears, fl, 1961 to the present David J. Des Marais
9. Fraction of life-bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges, fl, pre-1961 Michael Crowe
10. Fraction of life-bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges, fl, 1961 to the present Lori Marino
11. Fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space, fc, pre-1961 Florence Raulin Cerceau
12. Fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space, fc, 1961 to the present Seth Shostak
13. Length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space, L, pre-1961 David Duner
14. Length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space, L, 1961 to the present Garry Chick

Afterword Paul Davies
Index


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Biography

Douglas A. Vakoch is Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He also serves as chair of the International Academy of Astronautics Study Group on Interstellar Message Construction, and has edited numerous books in the field of astrobiology and space exploration.

Matthew F. Dowd is an editor at the University of Notre Dame Press and teaches periodically on the Program of Liberal Studies. He has been instrumental in organizing Notre Dame's biennial History of Astronomy conferences and in 2011 received the Adler-Mansfield Prize for contributions to the history of astronomy.


Contributors:
- Frank Drake
- Steven Dick
- David DeVorkin
- Patrick François
- Danielle Briot
- Matthew F. Dowd
- Chris Impey
- Florence Raulin Cerceau
- Jean Schneider
- Stephané Tirard
- David J. Des Marais
- Michael Crowe
- Lori Marino
- Seth Shostak
- David Dunér
- Garry Chick
- Paul Davies

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