Searching for Interstellar Communications, Philip Morrison and Giuseppe Cocconi
[In] Nature, Volume 184 (July-Sept 1959)
This article, by physicists Philip Morrison and Guiseppe Cocconi, was the first appearance of a "realistic strategy" for attempting to communicate with intelligent life on other planets, "possessing advance scientific capabilities." Complete with mathematical equations, Morrison and Cocconi point out the possibility of searching the microwave spectrum, and proposed frequencies and an initial set of targets. The reader, they write, “may seek to consign these speculations wholly to the domain of science-fiction. We submit, rather, that…the presence of interstellar signals is entirely consistent with all we now know, and that if signals are present the means of detecting them is now at hand. Few will deny the profound importance, practical and philosophical, which the detection of interstellar communications would have. We therefore feel that a discriminating search for signals deserves a considerable effort. The probability of success is difficult to estimate; but if we never search the chance of success is zero.” Thus began the modern SETI era. The following year, Frank Drake would perform the first modern SETI experiment, named 'Project Ozma', and in 1971 NASA would fund the first SETI study.
London: Macmillan and Co., 1959. Bound in green buckram, pp. 1004. Morrison and Cocconi's article appears on pages 844-846. Bookplate and sticker removed from front pastedown, sticker shadow to spine, hinges reinforced. Good or slightly better.