Dove sono tutti quanti?

Amedeo Balbi

Dove sono tutti quanti?



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Is there life in the universe? Since the number of galaxies is so immense, is it not a little unrealistic to think that Earth may be the only planet with the necessary conditions for the development of life? Dove sono tutti quanti? Un viaggio tra stelle e pianeti alla ricerca della vita is an exciting discovery of everything we might want to know about the cosmos. Above all, it invites us to reflect on those all-important theories in an attempt to answer the ultimate cosmos conundrum: are we alone?

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Analysis and key concepts


The universe is so huge that it is difficult for non-scientists to understand how big it actually is, which is why we must try to ‘visualise’ it, by using other means that can at least make it comprehensible


Immense dimensions combined with equally enormous distances create impossible timescales: the limits of both technology and the speed of light put the universe as a whole beyond all reach


The nature of the universe: our progressive knowledge has allowed us to ‘go back’ in time, and today we are able to describe what happened all of 13.8 billion years ago


The origins of life: the question we are still unable to answer is whether this was a fluke, or whether the miraculous mechanism that generated life is reproducible elsewhere in the cosmos


If the history of the universe were told in a 1380-page book, in which 10 million years was written on each page, the history of humankind would barely take up a line at the bottom of the last page


Scientists and science fiction authors seem to have had similar ideas over the years: the planet on which to look for life is Mars, Earth’s ‘frozen twin’


SETI, the project that ‘listens’ for possible traces of extra-terrestrial transmissions, is likely to succeed in its quest, if not by proving other developed civilisations already exist, then by proving they can exist, in the right conditions




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Get to grips with the size of the universe, and the relationships between the galaxies.
  • Discover useful questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
  • Learn about the fundamental events that led to the origin of life.

Amedeo Balbi is associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the Physics Department of the University of Rome "Tor Vergata". In his research he has covered various topics including the physics of the early universe, the issue of dark matter and energy, and the search for life in the cosmos. As an author, he edited a monthly column in Le Scienze, as well as writing for several other newspapers and magazines. He has written several books, including Seekers of Wonder (Rizzoli, 2014), winner of the National Award for Scientific Dissemination 2015, and The Last Horizon (UTET, 2019), winner of the Asimov Award 2021.

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