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Universal Translator needed?

  1. Jan 28, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://space.com/searchforlife/seti_translator_050127.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2005 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    So the experience of Egyptian and Maya translation would suggest that the message from the stars that we are looking for will be

    "My name is Ozymandias King of Kings
    Look on my works ye mighty and despair".
     
  4. Jan 28, 2005 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    What would that look like on my SETI@Home screen?
     
  5. Jan 29, 2005 #4
    It is a distinct posibility that we wouldn't be able to decipher eachother without constant dialouge.
    usually, a person could use common objects such as trees and fruit to decipher eachothers language. But in an alien world, these things may or may not be there.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2005 #5

    Integral

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    The ancient Egyptians did not make a concerted effort to provide a primer to their language. The whole point of using prime numbers and universal constants is to provide a primer which will enable aliens to communicate with us. If we sent them the full text of War and Peace it would be meaningless gobbly gook. But if we send them recognizable mathematical patterns there exists a chance that they can work it out.
     
  7. Feb 4, 2005 #6

    Nereid

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    Hmm, Egypt, a few thousand years ago; the Maya, even fewer thousand years.

    The Earth (and Sun), approx 4.5 billion years; the universe, approx 13.7 billion.

    The former divided by the latter, a million (OOM).

    Please remind me, how do you spell 'hubris'?
     
  8. Feb 4, 2005 #7
    Stanislaw Lem challenged the standard assumptions about ET communication 37 years ago in His Master's Voice (and later, in other works like A Perfect Vacuum). As usual, his deep thoughts on the subject were largely ignored by scientists, philosophers and Star Trek fanboys. The first and/or last word on ET communication is not Carl Sagan. This is a subject barely in the embryonic stage, and all inputs from all fields of knowledge are welcome.
     
  9. Feb 5, 2005 #8

    Chronos

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    Hmm, Stanislaw Lem is an author of F&SF books. He has not founded a cult, claimed to be a UFO contactee, or otherwise claimed paranormal powers that I know of - aside from annoying some other F&SF authors. Why would he not be ignored by scientists? Most bookstores mark the fiction from fact aisle.
     
  10. Feb 5, 2005 #9

    turbo

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    Bookstore marketing aside (so you can take the "F" for "Fantasy" right out of your characterization) good science fiction writers are masters of extrapolation. They take facts and currently-accepted scientific thought and say "what if?". Many of them, besides being able to write compelling stories, are rigorously logical people and have a better foundation in "real science" than you might think. Some have doctorates in the fields about which they write. Here is a presentation on the subject.

    http://members.optushome.com.au/guests/PhysicsinSF.html

    The author cites Larry Niven's work extensively and offers examples, but you could as easily choose novels by Hal Clement, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Heinlein, etc. Each of them has written stories predicated on the sciences of physics, chemistry, sociology, mathematics, etc. It would be unwise to dismiss the ideas of these people simply because they write "fiction" for a living. Indeed, some scientists have denigrated Hawking, Sagan, and others for stooping to "popularize" science, as if writing to the comprehension level of an interested lay-person is somehow demeaning. This is a particularly poisonous type of pretentious snobbery that does not serve the sciences well.

    Ideas should be weighed on their merits and not solely on the manner of their presentation. There are many, many conflicting ideas written up in scientific journals every day, many of which will be discarded because they are inadequate or just plain wrong. There are many ideas in popular literature that are valuable - you have to take the time and effort to think them through and evaluate them.

    "Fiction" does not equal "false", "wrong", etc. Some of the truest words ever spoken were written a few years back by a fellow named Shakespeare.
     
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