The Famous “Fermi Paradox” Scientific Principle
Really Was Hatched Over Lunch at Los Alamos in 1950 … When America’s Top Nuclear Physicists Were
Discussing a New Yorker Magazine Cartoon!
The ‘Fermi Paradox’ began as a series of questions during one of Nobel Physicist Enrico Fermi’s many visits to the Los Alamos National Labs in 1950. Fermi, the ‘architect of the nuclear age,’ was headed for lunch at the Fuller Lodge with fellow physicists Edward Teller, Herbert York and Emil Konopinski, all involved in the famous Manhattan Project.
As usual, the conversation raced across a wild series of topics—interstellar travel, flying sauces, aliens and extraterrestrial civilizations. Then someone joked about a New Yorker magazine cartoon. Got a laugh. At the time trashcans were in fact mysteriously disappearing from New York City streets. The cartoon showed ‘little green men’ offloading the stolen cans from a ‘flying saucer’ that had returned back to their home planet. Fermi was amused, then he turned dead serious, asking:
“Could space ships travel faster than the speed of light? To reach us, they’d have to. And if aliens really could travel faster than the speed of light … where is everybody? Why do we see no signs of intelligence elsewhere in the universe? Humans could theoretically colonize the galaxy in a million years or so. And if they could, astronauts from older civilizations could do the same. So why haven’t they come to Earth?”
So … where is everybody? Are we really all alone in the universe? Why no signs of intelligent life in the universe … anywhere?”
And so, the Fermi Paradox was born. Hollywood has offered many answers. Some inspiring, like Contact, ET and Arrival. Some threatening, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, District 19, and The Terminator. We see aliens in the movies, we keep searching, we hope, yet we find no signs of intelligent life, anywhere in the universe, only us humans, right here, now.
World Population’s Explosive Growth, 4-fold in a Century:
From 2.5 Billion in 1950 to 10.0 Billion by 2050!
Today humans would be cheering if aliens landed and were hauling off all our trash cans, the waste, the pollution, all the problems we’ve created for ourselves. Instead, our world just kept accelerating in the brief century … from 2.5 billion in 1950 to and overcrowded 10 billion in 2050 … but nobody’s coming to save us … and by 2047, it’ll be too late … by 2047 it’ll be over … the momentum of the visions locked in … temperature increases driving irreversibly higher … as Planet-Earth passes the point-of-no-return … turned into an unsustainable cosmic dump! Far more damage than Fermi and his Manhattan Project ever imagined.
“Where is everybody?” Lost in space! And soon, we’ll join them … lost in spade.