Wednesday, May 27, 2020

SETI Pioneer Frank Drake Celebrates His 90th Birthday


This week, Dr. Frank Drake, the pioneer in the scientific search for intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos and one of my favorite astronomers, turns 90. He has been a really important mentor in my life, with good advice at several crucial career points, and I want to wish him all the best on this occasion.
He is perhaps best known for the ”Drake Equation,” a formula for making estimates of the number of technological civilizations in the Galaxy that are capable of communicating with us. To read an article in which he wrote up “The Origin of the Drake Equation” (for a column I was editing at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific), go to: http://bit.ly/drakearticle
For my 2012 interview with Drake, where he reflects on his work over the years, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPQz-kdaxNo&t=536s The accompanying picture shows us on that occasion, at the SETICon convention organized by the SETI Institute, where he and I have been on the Board of Trustees.
With all the reasons to despair of intelligent life here on Earth, I hope we can soon realize Drake's dream of finding it among the stars. A number of projects are carrying on the search he began, and a success would be a great present for his next birthday.

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