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Regular Meeting April 2022

A lecture of Dr. Sibylle Anderl:

An astrophysical-philosophical journey into the cosmos

​Finally, meetings again - on 7 April at our traditional evening meeting with guests at the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof there was a long-lost reunion and at the same time an excursion into unknown spheres.

Before this journey began, the new members of the IWC were welcomed with great joy and applause.

Afterwards, the candidates for the office of President and Executive Board in the club year 2022/23 were presented, whose election will be held at the RM on 11 May.

Do aliens exist only in our imagination - on the silver screen and in literature - or also in reality?

Is life outside Earth even possible and what would this mean for humanity? Science has been trying to find answers for decades. This exciting topic was the focus of the lecture "Encounters with Aliens?" by the renowned scientist and FAZ journalist Dr Sybille Anderl.  

​First, Dr Anderl dealt with the basic prerequisites for the possibility of extraterrestrial life, which are as follows:

- Complex chemistry

- Liquid water

- Energy

- Catalytic surface

- Time

She then turned her attention to the question of possible habitable zones, focusing on Mars, Jupiter and its moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, and Saturn. Scientists have also tried to make contact with extraterrestrial civilisations in a variety of ways - for example, by sending signals (Cyberbaud Green Bank Telescope/Arecibo Radio Telescope).

A pioneer in this field was Frank Drake, who in 1961 developed a formula for calculating the number of detectable civilizations in the Milky Way using the so-called Drake equation. This is still the basis for discussion in the search for extraterrestrial life.
NASA later sought contact with extraterrestrial civilisations by means of paper (Pioneer 10 and 11) and with the so-called Voyager Golden Records (Voyager 2).

All messages remained unanswered until now! Dr. Anderl quoted two statements by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein on this subject "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" (Tractatus logico-philosophicus). "If a lion could speak, we could not understand it" (Philosophical Investigations). To conclude this fascinating and entertaining lecture, Dr Anderl asks three fundamental questions:

< >Is it reasonable to wish for contact with aliens ?What  would it meanfor humankind to find alien  life?How different from us could alien life possibly be? Which  commonalities could we hope for, at all?

These questions provided much material for the lively discussion that followed.


IWC Frankfurt e.V.
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