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Review: ‘Searching for interstellar communications’, by Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison

[This post is the first in a series exploring major works in the field of space archaeology. The next will be more artefact-based, but it was important to begin with the origin of SETI itself.] On 19 September 1959, the modern search for extraterrestrial intelligence was born with the publication in the prestigious journal Nature of an article by Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison of Cornell University. The piece, ‘Searching for interstellar communications,’ proposed a search of nearby sun-like stars for microwave radio signals on the 21-centimeter hydrogen line. You can read the article online at the (paywalled) Nature archive, or for free here and here. It’s quite short, go read! Welcome back! For such a brief article, there’s a lot to think about. First of all, it’s remarkable to see the seeds of … Read entire article »

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