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article imageScientists say aliens would love Bach, Van Gogh not Einstein

By Andrew Moran     Aug 15, 2010 in Science
Santa Clara - If advanced extraterrestrial life did exist and they visited Earth, scientists say they would be much more interested in the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach and Vincent Van Gogh rather than Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton.
Imagine an advanced race visited Earth; one that dates back billions of years ago. They have the most advanced technology. They have a vast understanding of quantum physics, biology, chemistry, and so forth. One of those extraterrestrials decides to visit a science lab and one scientist provides the creature a didactic view on the theory of relativity. That alien would yawn and say: “Yeah, so what?”
This is what researchers and scientists are saying would actually happen. On Saturday, at the SETIcon Conference, which discusses the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe, researchers believe aliens would be much more interested in the artistic creativity of Johann Sebastian Bach or Vincent Van Gogh than Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton.
Researchers argue that humans probably can’t teach aliens much about mathematics and science but since art is strictly a human attribute that is hard to attain elsewhere in the universe, extraterrestrials would be fascinated by it, according to Space.
Vincent Van Gogh - Self-portrait (1887).
Vincent Van Gogh - Self-portrait (1887).
Vincent van Gogh
“What would the other guys want to know about us? What in the world do we have to offer?" asked the Director of Interstellar Message Composition, Douglas Vakoch. “If they're so advanced, we probably can't teach them about science, but we can tell them what it's like to be at this precarious point where we don't know if we're going to continue as a species."
However, speakers at the conference argue that it would be difficult for aliens to understand human art. Therefore, author Pierre Schwob says the best way for aliens to understand music is to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which is composed of mathematical patterns and much easier for aliens to absorb and understand.
Other works by Vivaldi, Handel, Monteverdi and other baroque composers would be suitable for aliens.
In terms of visual art, comic book artist Paul Duffield suggested aliens should be presented with pre-Raphaelite art because of its three-dimensional structure and its ease of interpretation. Artists of that specific period include Edward Robert Hughes and William Holman Hunt.
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