The Tusk has a flip-side fascination to my obsession with cosmic impact and extinctions: Life on earth and how it got here. Looking into the life story makes a nice yen to the yang of the death story.
So I have been fortunate over the years to develop a digital acquaintance and enjoy occasional correspondence with the living lion of astrobiology, Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe. I have read his books and deeply admire Chandra and his intellectual partner and dearest friend, the late Sir Fred Hoyle.
When I spotted a couple of “Harvard men” muscle their way into Chandra’s subject last week — and make scant mention or properly credit he and Fred’s volumes of prior work — I reached out to Dr. C to see if he had any thoughts for the Tusk (Avi Loeb and Amir Siraj’s new paper is below.)
As I suspected, Dr. C agreed with the Tusk that the Loeb paper contributed very little to the record with regard to Panspemia.
The idea discussed in Amir Siraj, Abraham Loeb, which has received wide publicity is in essence not new.
Dr. Wickramasinghe’s full remarks are below and exclusive to the Cosmic Tusk.
If you read Chandra’s autobiography, or otherwise learn about the man, you can see he is a man of science, without a hint of guile or pettiness so common in research and academics. Wickramasinghe maintains this attitude despite the forty years of willful ignorance surrounding his proof that life is absolutely everywhere.
Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe had established nearly all of Loeb’s conclusions by the time Avi turned 20. Loeb probably had to pick an earth grazing comet simulation today in order find something NOT already well covered by H&W in decades past.
To give them their due, Loeb et al. does provide a single citation to Wickramasignhe, in the first sentence, but make no narrative mention of his work, which certainly seemed called for.
I also note that Avi, suddenly an avid Panspermist, never published on the subject before 2016, and makes no mention of H&W in his Ted Talk — or anywhere else on the internet. He only provides a single, simple citation to a body of work considered fantastic and heretical since it was published.
If Loeb is right, and the universe is filled with life, his failure to properly credit Wickramasinghe is akin to a biologist not giving his due to Darwin.
Loeb and Siraj paper
Paper referenced by Wickramasinghe