Frank Drake, pioneer in the search for alien life, dies at 92
During a lifetime studying the sky, Drake's scientific contributions—and his namesake equation—became foundational to scientists' search for life beyond Earth.
Frank Drake, the American radio astronomer and astrophysicist who pioneered work on the search for extraterrestrial life, died on September 2 at his home in Aptos, California, at the age of 92.
Drake’s contributions to science were numerous. A founder of the scientific field engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), he developed the Drake Equation, a framework for estimating the number of possible civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. He made the first observations of Jupiter’s radiation belts, and he was one of the first astronomers to measure Venus’s searing surface temperature and the greenhouse effect of its thick atmosphere. Drake served as the director of the Arecibo radio observatory in Puerto Rico. He was a mentor and inspiration