An Essay Winston Churchill Wrote About Alien Life

An Essay Winston Churchill Wrote About Alien Life

“Are we alone in the universe?” he asked.

Late in the 1950s, when he had been solidly inside the 80s and retired, as much as was possible for a man like him, from political life, Winston Churchill brought a draft of an essay right down to a villa in southern France.

The area belonged to his publisher, Emery Reves, who had bought it from Coco Chanel with all the money he produced from selling the foreign rights to Churchill’s books on World War II. In the age that is old preferred the heat and luxury of the place, named La Pausa, to the colder, grayer atmosphere of England, and he would stay for very long stretches of time, being treated royally by his hosts and working on his History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

This essay, though, covered a different topic, the one that was less typical for the aging statesman, as a brand new report published in Nature reveals. Originally titled “Are We Alone in Space?” the essay explored the chance of extraterrestrial life.

Churchill had first started taking care of the essay in 1939, before the start of World War II, also it ran about 11 pages. At La Pausa Churchill worked on revising it, changing the title to “Are We Alone into the Universe?” The essay was never published, though; Churchill left the draft at La Pausa, as well as in the 1980s Wendy Reves, Emery’s wife, gave it towards the National Churchill Museum, in Fulton, Missouri.

Just last year, the museum’s new director, Timothy Riley, rediscovered this essentially unknown written piece. When he handed it to Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author, it had been “a great surprise,” Livio writes in Nature. Riley wanted a scientist’s opinion of the essay: Had Churchill gotten it right?

As Livio writes in the Nature note, Churchill’s curiosity that is great extended to science, in which he was the first British Prime Minister to have a science adviser on his staff. He previously written about evolution, cells, and fusion, plus in this essay he took regarding the question of alien life with reasoning that “mirrors many modern arguments in astrobiology,” Livio writes. Churchill considered how big the universe, the important thing role of water in sustaining life, as well as the habitable zone of any solar system, where conditions and distance from the star could be most hospitable to life. [Read more…]