The Drake Equation is widely-known as a function sitting in the ‘Probability Theory’ branch of mathematics.

Except, it is a work of art. Why? Because it was intended as a salon piece. “Drake hosted a “search for extra-terrestrial intelligence” meeting on detecting their radio signals. The meeting was held at the Green Bank facility in 1961. The equation that bears Drake’s name arose out of his preparations for the meeting.” – [2].

The work is Avant-garde; ” … people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society” – [3].

The equation bears all the hallmarks of an art masterpiece; Avant-garde, debate-prompting ‘shock of the new’, enduring human endeavour, and with multiple interpretations.

The Drake Equation works as a function with a scientific application; but, make no mistake – a factor here, a factor there. Drake’s factors are like brushstrokes.

This is art. It happens to look like mathematics.

Is the search for something greater than us, art?


[1] Main image reference: Wiki Commons.