“With wit and brio, Frank separates current nonsense about aliens from the serious and fascinating search for extraterrestrial life.” —Carlo Rovelli, New York Times bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
From astrophysicist Adam Frank, a little book on the biggest questions in our search for extraterrestrial life, questions we stand ready to answer.
Everyone is curious about life in the Universe, UFOs and whether ET is out there. Over the course of his thirty-year career as an astrophysicist, Adam Frank has consistently been asked about the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. Are aliens real? Where are they? Why haven’t we found them? What happens if we do?
We’ve long been led to believe that astronomers spend every night searching the sky for extraterrestrials, but the truth is we have barely started looking. Not until now have we even known where to look or how. In The Little Book of Aliens, Frank, a leading researcher in the field, takes us on a journey to all that we know about the possibility of life outside planet Earth and shows us the cutting-edge science that has brought us to this unique moment in human history: the one where we go find out for ourselves.
In this small book with big stakes, Frank gives us a rundown of everything we need to know, from the scientific origins of the search for intelligent life, the Fermi Paradox, the Kardashev Scale, the James Webb Telescope, as well as UFOs and their conspiracy theories. Drawing from his own work and that of other scientists studying the possibility of alien life, he brings together the latest scientific thinking, data, ideas, and discoveries to equip us with the critical facts as we stand at what may be the last moment in human history where we still believe we are all alone. This book is about everything we do—and do not—know about life, intelligent or otherwise beyond Earth. In language that is engaging, entertaining and fun, The Little Book of Aliens provides a comprehensive first look at how close we are to finding out if others actually exist—and if they do, what they might be like.
Humankind is on the precipice of finding its neighbors. What comes next? No person is better suited to answer that question—and lead the search—than Adam Frank.
“With wit and brio, Frank separates current nonsense about aliens from the serious and fascinating search for extraterrestrial life.”
— Carlo Rovelli, New York Times bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
“This wonderful book unravels the tangled ball of humanity’s thinking about aliens, and tells the whole story with high humor and immense clarity. Adam Frank helpfully explains what scientists are doing now to explore the galaxy remotely in search of answers to this fascinating mystery. Read this and you’ll know as much as anyone does on the topic— it’s as clear as a map, as clear as Drake’s Equation.” — Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future and the Mars trilogy
"From the details of the origins of life on Earth, to the physics (and hypothetical future physics) of interstellar travel, The Little Book of Aliens is a comprehensive exploration of the seemingly limitless potential of intelligent life, human and beyond. Frank’s book is science writing at its best, revealing the awe-inspiring capacity of science to help us understand, and navigate, the universe.” — Annaka Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
“Aliens and UFOs have held perennial fascination for us all. Now, Adam Frank gives us an entertaining romp through our quickly changing attitudes to these topics. In just the last decade, biologists have achieved genuine insights into life’s origin, and astronomers have discovered thousands of ‘exoplanets’ orbiting distant stars. At last, we understand what to look for and where, and Adam Frank has written it down for us.” — Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and author of From Here to Infinity and On the Future
“Adam Frank has written a page-turner on the search for intelligent life in the universe. As informative as it is entertaining, this book ruthlessly falsifies common irrational beliefs about alien existence, but also joyously describes the fascinating current state of serious scientific research on the subject." — Scott Derrickson, director of Marvel Studio’s Doctor Strange
“The Little Book of Aliens is not little at all. Its scope is vast and the questions it answers as well as those it asks are as mind-blowing as they are essential. Here you will learn what modern science has to teach about life in the universe from a true master, who is knowledgeable, clear, patient, generous, and really funny. If aliens do land on Earth one day, I hope they choose Adam Frank’s backyard. They will be up for an awesome first encounter with a first-rate scientist and human being.”
— Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Dawn of a Mindful Universe: A Manifesto for Humanity’s Future, and 2019 Templeton Prize laureate
“The Little Book of Aliens is a captivating guide. With a chatty mix of wit and wisdom, Adam Frank comprehensively covers a wide range of topics from historical details to claims of modern-day sightings, while shedding light on our enduring fascination with the concept of aliens.”
— Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at MIT, author of The Smallest Lights in the Universe
“An irreverent, expert, and characteristically 'frank' overview of all things aliens, from the Drake Equation to UFOs to warp drive. This is a whirlwind tour from Roswell to the James Webb Space Telescope that stays firmly rooted in physics and the scientific method.” — Jason T. Wright, professor of astronomy and astrophysics and director of the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center
“Full of the excitement of the scientific enterprise! At the bottom of this engaging book is the profound question: Are we alone in the universe? In clear and accessible writing, Professor Frank provides a critical history of the belief in aliens and their conjectured visitations to Earth, and discusses the methods scientists are using now to search for extraterrestrial life.” — Alan Paige Lightman, physicist and author of Einstein’s Dreams and The Accidental Universe
“After years of dreaming about exploring the cosmos for signs of intelligent life, [Frank] and other scientists are on the threshold of a new era of unprecedented discovery in the field of astrobiology…. The book brims with fascinating facts and speculations….Frank advises we look for alien life where it most likely exists: deep space. He also stresses the key point that we have only begun to peer into the universe with instruments capable of breakthrough discoveries, a useful riposte to critics of the effort. Throughout, Frank champions the importance of demanding standards of evidence: ‘They are, literally, why science works.’” — Kirkus Reviews
“’Is there anyone out there?’ asks University of Rochester astrophysicist Frank in this animated overview of scientists’ search for extraterrestrial life…. Frank discusses some of the ways astronomers are currently looking for aliens and hospitable planets, including studying the chemical composition of distant planets’ atmospheres by observing how they filter starlight as it passes through… a solid survey of the hunt for life beyond Earth.” — Publishers Weekly
"Utilizing just enough hard science and plenty of examples to aid in understanding some of the basics of astrobiology, like Dyson spheres and the Drake equation, Frank has provided the reader with a thorough and exciting front-row seat to the future of searching for life in other worlds." — Booklist