The Science of Aliens

The Science of Aliens

The Science of Aliens

The Science of Aliens


They've been depicted as everything from little green men, to amorphous gelatinous blobs, to sky-scraper-tall, laser-blasting monsters. But if we actually met aliens from outer space, what might they really look like? Popular author Clifford Pickover leaps light years beyond current knowledge to offer an eye-popping look at beings from beyond.

Packed with stunning descriptions and drawings that offer close-up looks at life out there, this fanciful book introduces creatures that see in the infrared or hear radio waves. It ponders beings that possess super brains within an octopus-like body, and three-eyed, three-armed creatures that look like high-tech versions of Dr. Seuss characters. Putting his imagination in hyper-drive, the author obliterates assumptions of life's limitations by contemplating a planet of immobile, silicon-based "trees" that communicate via electric signals, entities that survive at mega-high pressures and temperatures -- even interstellar clouds that can think. In classic Pickover style, here's speculation at the far edge of knowability...and beyond.


To my utter astonishment I saw an airship descending over my cow lot. It was occupied by six of the strangest beings I ever saw. They were jabbering together, but we could not understand a word they said.

-- Congressman Alexander Hamilton, 1897

If we wish to understand the nature of the Universe we have an inner hidden advantage: we are ourselves little portions of the universe and so carry the answer within us.

-- Jacques Boivin, The Single Heart Field Theory

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and lead us from this world to another.

-- Plato (427-347 B.C.), The Republic, Book VII

Are We Alone?

I first became obsessed with the notion of alien life-forms as a child watching black-and-white episodes of the 1960s TV series The Outer Limits. You can't imagine how profoundly affected I was by the blurring of fact and fiction. The strange array of aliens, from the antlike Zanti Misfits to the noble Galaxy Being, made the unbelievable seem a frighteningly real possibility.

My interest was further stimulated in the late 1960s by the TV series Lost in Space, which dealt with the travels of a human family exploring strange planets. Their mission, set in the not-too-distant future, was to begin colonizing a planet near the star Alpha Centauri. Unfortunately, their craft went off course, and they lost all contact with Earth.

The most memorable Lost in Space episode dealt with an intergalactic zoo. When the animals accidentally escape, an odd assortment of . . .

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