Professor Brian Cox has said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised if a UFO landed in Oldham tomorrow’ as he shared thoughts about life beyond Earth.
The leading Manchester physicist took to Twitter to post the surprising revelation, saying firstly he thought the Milky Way ‘may be filled with microbes but not complex living things at our level of intelligence’ but that ‘all thoughts are guesses’.
But he quickly clarified, writing: “BUT make no mistake, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if a UFO landed in Oldham town centre tomorrow morning and the captain said ‘Take me to the leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’.”
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He added if that did happen, he would ask them why gravity is so weak relative to the other forces of nature.
The remark came as Professor Cox, who is a professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, explained the ‘Fermi Paradox’ as the lack of firm evidence for alien intelligence.
“Put simply, there has been over 10 billion years and there are many millions of worlds in the Milky Way on which a civilisation could have arisen as far as we know. At first sight, one might therefore expect that there should be many civilisations in the galaxy far in advance of us, and we might have expected to see them. Why don’t we (or, let’s be careful, why is the evidence not bl**dy obvious!)?,” he wrote.
“One answer might be that civilisations never develop interstellar travel. I don’t see any reason why interstellar travel is impossible, and I think we’ll develop it if we survive into the 22nd century.”
He then went on to suggest ‘getting along’ as a global civilisation could be harder than the science involved in making it to the stars, writing ‘Topical – see Oppenheimer!’.
“Maybe (see UFO hearings) they are here but we haven’t discovered them or somebody knows but has managed to keep it a secret? Maybe,” he continued. “But if this is the case then at least I can say that the alien civilisations aren’t making their presence very obvious, otherwise my Astronomy colleagues who spend their time gazing at the sky and listening for signals would surely have spotted them!”
“My guess is that the average number of civilisations in a typical galaxy is low – perhaps less than 1. That’s a guess, based on what we know about the evolution of complex life on Earth. Put simply, it took the best part of 4 billion years here to go from cell to civilisation, and that’s a third of the age of the Universe.
“I think this MAY imply that, if this is typical (lots of ifs) then the Milky Way may be filled with microbes but not complex living things at our level of intelligence. This would be my guess.
“BUT make no mistake, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if a UFO landed in Oldham town centre tomorrow morning and the captain said ‘Take me to the leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’.
“In that case the Fermi Paradox would no longer be a paradox, I’d have learnt a lot about biology and I could get back to tweeting about other interesting stuff. I’d also ask them why gravity is so weak relative to the other forces of Nature.”