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Drake Equation

Category
Science
Related
Fermi ProblemFermi Paradox
Drake Equation

Definition

A probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.

Origin

The equation was written in 1961 by Frank Drake as a way to stimulate scientific dialogue at the first meeting on the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Everyday Use

The Drake Equation is a good reminder of the importance of thinking in scales. We can have an idea about the way something works, or be entirely driven by one part of our day or some incessant task, but when take a step back and run the numbers on the absolute importance of x, y, or z, then perhaps we have a little more perspective on how to factor them into our lives.