Avi Loeb, a theoretical physicist, a chairman of the astronomy department at Harvard University, surprisingly is now under heavy scrutiny due to his recent publication. Though he is a well-known researcher in the world of astronomy and contributed brilliant ideas regarding black holes and the universe, his recent theory about the phenomenon that is the ‘Oumuamua unfortunately was not well-received.
In truth, it was ridiculed by other experts, stating that the theory was a ‘wild speculation’ at best and some even compared it to the logic behind flat-earthers. Being compared to a flat-earther’s logic should be more than enough to discourage him, but he shoved it off. Even though criticisms kept nagging at his back, he did not stop. He even stated that this theory of his was not among the most speculated ideas he had theorized.
Loeb insisted that the findings he had found did not come from any sci-fi fantasy nonsense, but is backed by decades of research with over 650 of written papers. Though it is a little bit far-fetched as most researchers have mentioned, he replied with,
“Let’s put all the possibilities on the table,”Avi Loeb
The ‘Oumuamua Theory
The ‘Oumuamua is the first known interstellar object that was discovered in 2017. Initially, it was classified as a comet, but it didn’t act similarly to what a comet should. It was then classified as an asteroid, but with a hint of doubt since the interstellar object also behaved more as a comet than an asteroid.
Loeb then, using these available data drew to a conclusion that the object is neither of the two. He and Shmuel Bialy then co-authored an article that reasoned the object to be coming from an extraterrestrial civilization, or in other words, aliens.
As you may have guessed, as soon as the piece was published, astrophysicists were not happy with the theory and vocally expressed their displeasure. To be fair, their concern was not about how absurd his theory was, but how it would affect the department’s financial support. A fellow astrophysicist from OSU expressed his concerns by stating,
“Here’s yet another thing where people think that astronomers are just hunting for aliens. The next time we go out to Congress or the public asking for money, there’s going to be a lot of people shaking their heads saying, ‘Oh, you guys are just nutballs.”
Although there are more negative attention coming his way, he still believes in his theory and is currently looking more into it. To address what his fellow experts are saying about him, he stated,
“If someone would show me evidence — a photograph of ‘Oumuamua, or clear evidence that it’s natural in origin — then I would admit it and move on,”Avi Loeb
He even quoted a military saying where ‘If you’re a good soldier, you put your body on the barbed-wire so that others can pass over it,’ He then convincingly finished off with a comment,
“I’m willing to put my body on the barbed wire.”Avi Loeb
Why the Theory is Getting a Lot of Attention
So why is this theory making the news? Why not one of the many theories that explains the possibilities of aliens?
You have to understand, Avi Loeb is not like any astrophysicists. He has earned a reputation for being a ‘brilliant’ mind. Not saying that the others are not brilliant, but Loeb did contribute a lot. He has even earned a title of being one of the top 25 most influential people on space research last 2012.
Even Irwin Shapiro, a renowned astrophysicist has high praises for Loeb. Shapiro was the former director for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. What’s more interesting is that Loeb once had the privilege to dine with the genius Stephen Hawking himself at his home.