The story begins like this: In 1950, a group of high-powered physicists were lunching together near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Among those in attendance were Edward Teller (father of the nuclear bomb) and the Nobel Prize-winning Enrico Fermi. The discussion turned to a spate of recent UFO sightings and, then, on to the possibility of seeing an object (made by aliens) move faster than light. The conversation eventually turned to other topics when, out the blue, Fermi suddenly asked: “Where is everybody?”
While he’d startled his colleagues, they all quickly understood what he was referring to: Where are all the aliens?
What Fermi realized in his burst of insight was simple: If the universe was teeming with intelligent technological civilizations, why hadn’t they already made it to Earth? Indeed, why hadn’t they made it everywhere?
This question, known as “Fermi’s paradox,” is now a staple of astrobiological/SETI thinking. . . .