Date: October 18, 2010

Title: Criticism of the Drake Equation


Podcaster: Diane Turnshek


Description: The Drake equation has been used to estimate the number of advanced alien civilizations in the galaxy. It does this by multiplying together several probabilities that are pretty easy to take an educated guess at. Some of these variables are the number of sun-like stars in the galaxy, and the number of planets out there that are the correct distance away from the star to potentially produce life. In this podcast, we explore the rationale behind many of the Drake equation variables, and discuss some criticisms and problems with the equation.

Bio: Rachel is a senior in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. She enjoys studying genetics and learning about how gene expression is regulated. She has been fascinated by the night sky ever since evenings spent stargazing as a child. Since coming to Pittsburgh, she has been forced to come to terms with the evil that is light pollution and the problems it causes for stargazing.

Adam is a senior in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently studying the tiny and mysterious world inside of individual cells. He has many hobbies, including building potato cannons and playing guitar. He also has a great interest in astronomy, which leads him to look up at the sky with childlike wonder almost every night. Even though astronomy is the study of the very vast, Adam is more about exploring the unknown than the size of that unknown.

Today’s sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by the Physics Department at Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Undergraduate and graduate students total 11,000. The University is a a leader in research, ranking second in Pennsylvania among Federal R&D contract recipients in 2009. The Mellon College of Science (Physics, Math, Biology and Chemistry) has an eight to one ratio of students to faculty. Through research and education, CMU astronomers hope to refine our understanding of the Universe.

Additional sponsorship for this episode has been provided by Alice Enevoldson.


***Transcript coming soon.***

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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