Fayé, Herve Auguste Etienne Albans (1814–1902)

Herve Faye

Herve Fayé was a leading French astronomer and professor at the École Polytechnique who, at a time when pluralism was popular among the intelligentsia in France, argued that extraterrestrial life might be quite uncommon. Habitable planets would be unlikely, he thought, around stars that were small, variable, or tightly packed in clusters. Within the solar system, he suggested that the requisite climatic, atmospheric, chemical, and geological conditions necessary for life occurred only on Earth and possibly on Mars and Venus. Furthermore, adopting a modified version of the nebular hypothesis, Fayé considered the formation of planetary systems like our own to be a rare event.