Catalog Number: 0871
Number of Credits: 3
"Either we are alone or we are not; either way is mind-boggling" (Dubridge). The purpose of this course is to give students a sufficient scientific background for an informed discussion of whether intelligent creatures are likely to exist elsewhere in the Universe, where such creatures might be found, what they might be like, and how we might contact them. Like the newly created field of astrobiology, this course unites a wide range of topics to address these questions. We will examine the origin of the Universe, the formation of the Solar System, the history of the Earth, the origin and evolution of life and intelligent life on Earth, and the problems associated with trying to contact and communicate with life located across the vast distances of space. By the end of this class you not only will have an informed appreciation of the probability of finding intelligent life elsewhere, but also a sound knowledge of the many surprising twists and turns that led to human life on Planet Earth.Offered every fall term. Lecture 2 hours; recitation 1 hour.