Churchill first defines what life is, then details the requirements for life to exist and progressively expands his reasoning to the existence of life in other solar systems, Mr. He later became friends, at least for a time, with the writer H. Wells, whose novel “The War of the Worlds,” about Martians invading Britain, had been adapted by Orson Welles for a famous CBS radio broadcast in 1938 — a year before Churchill wrote his article.
(Churchill once said Wells’s “The Time Machine” was one of the books he would like to take with him to Purgatory.)Churchill argued that it was probable that extraterrestrial life existed somewhere in the universe.
He was the first British prime minister to appoint a scientific adviser.
He pushed for investment in the sciences that led to a series of vital wartime and post-war finds - in molecular genetics, radio astronomy, nuclear power, codebreaking and robotics.
Churchill, who went on to become prime minister during much of World War II and again from 1951 to 1955, was so enthralled by the subject that he even ordered a suspected sighting of an unidentified flying object by the Royal Air Force to be kept a secret for 50 years to avoid “mass panic.”In an 11-page essay titled “Are We Alone in the Universe?
” the statesman showed powers of reason “like a scientist,” said Mario Livio, an astrophysicist who read the rarely seen draft and wrote about it in an article published on Wednesday in Nature magazine.“The most amazing thing is that he started this essay when Europe was on the brink of war and there he is, musing about a question about a scientific topic that is really a question out of curiosity,” he said in an interview. Livio said, “and though he didn’t have all the knowledge at hand, he thinks about this with the logic of a scientist.”Churchill’s interest in science stemmed from his early years as an army officer in British-ruled India, where he had crates of books, including Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” shipped to him by his mother.
There was Operation Habakkuk, an imagined fleet of aircraft carriers made from wood pulp and ice to fight German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic.
Then there was the Great Panjandrum, an enormous, rocket-propelled wheel packed with explosives.
As With hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of suns, the odds are enormous that there must be immense numbers which possess planets whose circumstances would not render life impossible....
I, for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures, or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time.