The Drake equation for alienintelligence

How many intelligent civilizations are there supposed to be in our galaxy right now?

Frank Drake, a US astrophysicist who died on September 2 at the age of 92, devised an equation to estimate this in 1961.

This post first appeared on The Conversation (opens in new tab). The essay was contributed to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights section.

How many intelligent civilizations should there be right now in our galaxy? Frank Drake, an astrophysicist from the United States, published his findings in 1961.

The Drake equation, which dates from a time in his career when he was "too innocent to be nervous," has become renowned and retains his name.

This puts Drake in the company of other great physicists who have equations named after them, like as James Clerk Maxwell and Erwin Schrödinger.

Unlike those, Drake's equation does not represent a natural law. Instead, it blends some unknown probabilities into an educated guess.

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