The Contact Paradox: Challenging Our Assumptions in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


Product Details

Bloomsbury SIGMA
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 1.1 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Keith Cooper is the Editor of Astronomy Now. He has held this role since 2006, and is also Editor of the NASA-sponsored Astrobiology Magazine. Keith specializes in writing about astrophysics, planetary science, cosmology and astrobiology, and he has written for New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, Physics World, Centauri Dreams and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.


"With concise and approachable writing, Cooper crafts a worthwhile popular science work about questions that, as scientists continually improve the human capacity for gathering information about the rest of the universe, are becoming increasingly important." --Starred review from Publishers Weekly

"There is growing interest in the possibility of 'alien intelligence', and in how best to search for it. Keith Cooper's broad and balanced perspective on current debates and programmes deserves wide readership." --Martin Rees

"A thorough and timely overview of the latest thinking in SETI and its controversial offspring, METI. This is a stimulating, provocative and ultimately optimistic enquiry into the biggest question we're ever likely to answer: are we alone?" --Alastair Reynolds, Science Fiction Author

"The mystery of humanity's place in the universe enthrals millions. Whatever strangeness prevails out there, shouldn't we explore, at least with curious minds? The Contact Paradox surveys what science has revealed about this odd cosmos, the vastness of our ignorance and curiosity about any 'others' out there, and some of the steps we can take - even now - to prepare." --David Brin, Hugo and Nebula award-winning author

"In an engrossing narrative, Keith Cooper dissembles our expectations for intelligent alien life down to a set of assumptions we can gorge on with scientific precision. It is a meal guaranteed to expand what you thought was possible, and brings the search for life beyond the Earth from the realm of fiction to that of a scientific endeavour." --Elizabeth Tasker, Associate Professor at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and author of The Planet Factory.

"'Are we alone in the universe?' has no answer yet, but Cooper delivers an enlightening exploration of the question." --Kirkus Reviews

"Cooper delivers an exciting, provocative tome to which science buffs will flock." --Booklist

Earth has been broadcasting electromagnetic signals for a century and sending out mechanical probes - five of which have now left the solar system - for well over half a century. And despite countless science fiction cautionary tales, humans are still reflexively eager to meet sentient alien life. Those enthusiasts should read 'The Contact Paradox' before laying out the welcome mat. - Christian Science Monitor

"This eloquent, fascinating book likewise upends a standard assumption, in this case that humans would actually want to meet extraterrestrial intelligence. Whether you're the planet's biggest xenophobe or SETI's biggest fan, Keith Cooper will both delight and challenge you in these pages." --Open Letters Monthly

"Cooper offers the reader a balance of thought-provoking views and opinions, not only his own, but tapping into the thoughts of leading figures in SETI and related fields." --Inside Outer

'The Contact Paradox' is a fascinating look at the history of SETI and the possibilities inherent to extraterrestrial contact. What Cooper does that is so engaging is address multiple aspects of the issue. - The Main Edge