Unlike so many politicians these days, Winston Churchill held a deep admiration for learning and science. A rediscovered essay—forgotten in a museum for nearly sixty years—reveals Churchill’s astoundingly scientific thoughts on such topics as cosmology, the origin of life, and the likelihood of extraterrestrials. Incredibly, he was all but certain that aliens exist.
The 11-page, typewritten manuscript was rediscovered last year by a museum director, and handed to astrophysicist Mario Livio for analysis. Winston Churchill drafted the essay, titled “Are We Alone in the Universe?,” in 1939, and revised it in the 1950s, but it was never published. The essay reveals the degree to which the iconic statesman reasoned like a scientist, and how astute he was about concepts that have only recently emerged in the scientific literature, such as the number of planets in the galaxy, and the conditions required for planetary habitability.