Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Which constant should we send to aliens?

  1. Jan 24, 2005 #1
    Suppose we get contact with some aliens, which number constant should you send to test their "intelligence"?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2005 #2
    I would send [tex]\phi=1.61803399[/tex] - The Golden Ratio
     
  4. Jan 24, 2005 #3
    How exactly would we send that number? Without an encoding they could understand, it wouldn't matter what number we sent.
     
  5. Jan 24, 2005 #4
    Well, ignoring that problem, I would say (pi^2)/6
     
  6. Jan 24, 2005 #5

    Alkatran

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    e^(pi*i) + 1 = 0
     
  7. Jan 24, 2005 #6
    You could send them a golden rectangle.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2005 #7

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Something simple, representation invariant and universally true, like :

    ** *** ***** ******* *********** *************
     
  9. Jan 24, 2005 #8
    yeah, send prime numbers, just like in that movie contact
     
  10. Jan 25, 2005 #9

    cepheid

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us."

    --Bill Watterson, cartoonist
     
  11. Jan 25, 2005 #10
    natural constant e=2.718...
     
  12. Jan 25, 2005 #11
    maybe aliens tried to contact us through microwave 200 years ago, but at that time nobody could sense that. :bugeye:
     
  13. Jan 25, 2005 #12

    Chronos

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    Dimensionless numbers, like the nuclear fine structure constant. That would almost surely set off alarms no matter what base system they used to count. Transmit it in binary code [on-off bits]. Even a far advanced intelligence would recognize that pattern.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2005
  14. Jan 25, 2005 #13
    Yeah... like [tex]\pi[/tex] is so B.C. ...
     
  15. Jan 25, 2005 #14

    Alkatran

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Actually, I think a good start for the data you send is:
    1010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010
    followed by
    11001100110011001100110011001100110011001100110011001100
    111000111000
    etc...

    You know, so they know it's not random.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2005 #15

    dextercioby

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Euler-Mascheroni constant:
    [tex] \gamma=:\lim_{n\rightarrow +\infty} (\sum_{k=1}^{n} \frac{1}{k}-\ln n) [/tex]

    [tex]\gamma\sim 0.577215665 [/tex]

    Daniel.
     
  17. Jan 25, 2005 #16
    The problem with this it that even chimpancies can send this sequence.

    I don't think pi is good neither. Think about a gas-world, like Jupiter, where solid objects don't exist in the way we know. Would they found this number without have some motivation of real circles?
     
  18. Jan 25, 2005 #17

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Well, all sorts of exotic numbers might do, of course (for example, Brun's constant because Brun was a Norwegian..).

    However, I've yet to see any suggestions simpler and more elegant than a repeating sequence of the first few prime numbers.
     
  19. Jan 25, 2005 #18

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!
     
  20. Jan 25, 2005 #19

    dextercioby

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    WHY not,Arildno???Do you have motivation??

    Daniel.
     
  21. Jan 25, 2005 #20
    There is always the Sun, and moons. I don't believe intelligent life can exist without solids. Wouldn't a zero-g ameoba tend to be round? Isn't the symmetry of a hydrogen atom round?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?