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Monday, June 19, 2017

Do aliens speak mathematics?

ET's 'phone'  (Photo by Mattingly23)
When ET phoned home, what language did he speak?  Could it be that calculus was his mother tongue?

Scientists are thinking that math may be somewhat of a universal language.  This is not a new notion.  Back in 1820, genius Karl Gauss suggested planting “large swaths of Siberian forest” within a Pythagorean pattern that could be detected from outer space.  

Two decades later, astronomer Joseph von Littrow wanted to torch geometric “kerosene-filled trenches in the Sahara Desert” in order to discover whether anyone up there was noticing.

Both scientists felt that such displays of mathematical knowledge could broadcast human intelligence to the universe at large. Contemporary mathematician Carl DeVito is thinking along these same lines.  He is partnering with linguist R. T. Oehrie in hopes of “enabling civilizations from different star systems” to exchange mutually beneficial information.

Nevertheless, watch what you ask for.  Physicist Stephen Hawking warns that such exchanges might be far from beneficial for Earth. 


Copyright June 19, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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