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Jill Tarter (astrofysica) filosofeert over ET

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  • Frits Westra
    Bron: http://www7.mercurycenter.com:80/premium/world/docs/voices17.htm--[snipped]-----Published Sunday, January 17, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 1999


      Published Sunday, January 17, 1999, in the San Jose
      Mercury News


      Imagining others in our galaxy

      "From your perspective, what have been some of the
      most important developments of this century, and how
      will the world be different 100 years from now?"

      At the SETI Institute, we are currently conducting
      workshops whose formal purpose is to think about the
      future. We look at our own possible futures, and by
      analogy, the possible "presents" of advanced
      technological civilizations (if they exist) elsewhere
      in our Milky Way Galaxy.

      We are trying very hard to imagine the unimaginable.
      Our understanding of physics, and the physical
      universe in which we find ourselves, is far from

      At the beginning of this century, the cosmology of
      the day put humans right in the center of the known
      universe. Then came quantum mechanics, and also the
      observational proof that, far from being central, we
      occupy a small corner of a universe whose vastness
      strains our imaginations; a universe that may be but
      one among countless others.

      We have yet to develop a quantum theory that unifies
      gravity with the other fundamental forces of nature,
      but we know this is needed in order to explain the
      universe we observe, and to predict its future.

      We wonder whether life, indeed life intelligent
      enough to contemplate its own place in the universe,
      is ubiquitous, and we wonder how we might find out.

      As we project our own technologies forward into the
      future to guess the ways that advanced technological
      civilizations might manifest themselves (the better
      to design experiments capable of detecting them), we
      are almost certainly being too conservative. Arthur
      Clarke reminds us that significantly advanced
      technologies will be indistinguishable from magic!

      It is not hard to predict that if other advanced
      technological civilizations do exist in the Milky
      Way, and if the coming century permits their
      discovery, they will surprise us.

      Jill Tarter, an astrophysicist, is director of
      Project Phoenix at the Search for Extraterrestrial
      Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View. She
      lives in Berkeley.

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