The Drake Equation – together with Paul Kranzler

With no cell phones and no TV or radio programmes being broadcasted, Green Bank, West Virginia is home to the National Radio “Quiet Zone” created in the 1950s as a place for scientists to explore the universe with highly sensitive radio telescopes.


Since then they’ve been searching for traces of extraterrestrial life. The people, who now call this place home, could not be more different. A place where scientists meet settlers and bear hunters. And in recent years the “wi-fi refugees” who relocate here to flee electromagnetic radiation created by our modern society.

Paul Kranzler (A) and Andrew Phelps (A/USA) spent many weeks in 2015 in and around the small town of Green Bank, WV and the Green Bank Observatory documenting this unique community of scientists, electromagnetic hypersensitives and local families who earn their livelihood with bear hunting and maple syrup harvesting. The resulting book THE DRAKE EQUATION shows a natural landscape, interspersed with grotesque looking, huge telescopes and portrays the people, in whose bodies and attitudes the life in the Green Bank „Pocahontas Valley“ reflects.

N = R*· F p · Ne · F l · F i · F c · L

The Drake Equation, created in 1961, is an assumption of our chances of finding extraterrestrial life from other star systems. Astro-physics use this equation, and the highly sensitive radio telescopes, to search the edge of the universe looking for signs of life. The equation encapsulate all of the variables relevant to establishing the number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy which may be broadcasting radio signals at a particular point in time.

National Radio Quiet Zone, Green Bank, West Virginia, March 2015