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I’m an alien. No, really. I’m from an high-advanced civilization. But you don’t believe me. So you ask for a demonstration.

Among other things, you ask me to share a scientific knowledge totally out of your league but that you could be able to verify in a few days. Something that makes scientists says "Ok, it's not one of us."

I will give you only something completely innocuous (physically and socially) and that will not lead to great shock among the public. Maybe something that’s just a matter of interest for the scientists.

So... what could I give you?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Mołot, EveryBitHelps, L.Dutch, James, James K Mar 28 '17 at 19:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ There are a ton of potential answers to this question...by what criteria would you be judging the 'best' answer? $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Mar 28 '17 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @guildsbounty power, elegance and practicality? :) $\endgroup$ – Lupetto Mar 28 '17 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Just to give a few examples.... Way to detect Dark Matter (or alternate explanation to resolve that question), Solution to the disconnect between General and Special Relativity, How does gravity actually work, What's up with Quantum Entanglement, how to measure a Quantum Waveform without collapsing it, Introduce them to a new Universal Constant. I could keep going. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Mar 28 '17 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that we don't know how 'elegant' and 'practical' a solution may be, because we don't know the solution. Maybe the answer to how gravity works is actually really simple and easy to prove once you know how...maybe it isn't. So for most of the 'big scientific puzzles' that would prove a hyper-advanced species as that advanced, we cannot say how elegant and practical the options are...because we don't know how elegant or practical the solutions actually are. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Mar 28 '17 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ interesting question, but as written now it is primarily opinion based. VTC. try giving some criteria that you will base your 'best' answer as @guildsbounty mentioned. maybe focus on what area of expertise your current story character has access to! if they are a biologist, giving them the solution to some obscure math problem may not be as 'powerful, elegant and practical' as giving a description of how the blood brain barrier works etc. $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Mar 28 '17 at 18:27
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The list of all stars with exoplanets that are observable from earth at current technology level. Once you know where to look, detecting exoplanets is not that hard these days. Tell them the exact number of planets and their orbital periods for easier detection and further proof of your origins.

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  • $\begingroup$ You wouldn't even have to list all of them. Giving more than just a handful of stars with their planets would be probably be sufficiently convincing. $\endgroup$ – Rob Watts Mar 28 '17 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ But, it takes more than “a few days” to make such observations. Maybe in a near future where they can look at TESS data (etc.); but then again the claiment could have invented a new algorithm or have a supercomputer to mine the data for the discovery, as an alternative to the alien knowledge hypothesis. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 16 '17 at 21:59
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A math or logic proof. They can be independently verified, don't need high-technology to be transmitted, are very impressive to people who know what they're looking at... and entirely cryptic to people who don't.

Perhaps one of the Millenium Questions? These are widely recognized as extremely difficult and useful for science, but they're abstract enough that unless someone is interested in math and science, they're unlikely to know/care about them. It would probably see some press, but not wide coverage.

Also, there's a foundation set up to check your answers, though I'm not certain about the 'verify in a few days', because I'm not a mathematician. I could post it on Stack Exchange, maybe. :P Also, there's a million dollars worth of prize money, which might be a nice bonus.

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    $\begingroup$ You would have to be very choosy about your proofs though. It's always possible that you're just a human genius who figured out the proof and decided to reveal it in the most trollish way possible. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Mar 28 '17 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ @guildsbounty That's true, but I think that's also true of just about any knowledge that could be quickly verified. Maybe you could reach an agreement with the person you're trying to convince. Solve, say, two or three of the Millennium Questions, and they'll agree to take you seriously. $\endgroup$ – Hat Mar 28 '17 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ "Among other things, you ask me to share a scientific knowledge" $\endgroup$ – Lupetto Mar 28 '17 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ My first thought, too , but not sure about verification in a few days. My impression is it takes months to a year for the mathematical community to convince itself of modern day proofs. However, the alien may have a simple elegant proof that is easy to verify. $\endgroup$ – Solanacea Mar 28 '17 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Solanacea While you are right that a verification of a proof takes a long time, but if you ask the right people, then they will most likely be able to judge, by going through the proof once or twice, whether it makes sense and/or seems to be feasible. Such an insight, which can be discovered just by skimming through the proof, will likely be enough to convince at least a part of mathematical community in a quick time. $\endgroup$ – Wojowu Mar 28 '17 at 18:23
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Maybe not in a few days, but: you could give nuclear scientists the recipe for a transuranian element on an island of stability: a superheavy isotope of a new element that is stable (i. e. it doesn't decay) in the order of a few minutes or hours. This need not require extremely strong energies, maybe only tuning some reactions that have already been tried before:

Whilst elements with atomic numbers expected for the island of stability have been produced, the total nucleon count of these isotopes has been too low. These synthesised isotopes have contained too few neutrons to reach the supposed stable region.

Synthesizing a new stable element would also not be immediately dangerous: it could serve some useful purpose, or not.

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One technique would be to provide the equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica in your own language along with a alien/english dictionary and grammar.

I don't think it reasonable to invent a whole new language along with the equivalent of the Oxford english dictionary and the EB. The existence of the three works alone is persuasive. Linguists could quickly tell if it was derived from any earthly language group. Even with incomplete translation you have a whole world of history, geography, etc that can checked against itself.

The only two invented languages I know of with significant number of speakers is esperanto, and klingon. The first is basically a romance language with the irregularities cleaned up, so it's not made from whole cloth. Huge chunks of vocabulary are taken from existing languages, and the spelling and pronunciation renormalized. [Edit: I'm told I'm wrong about it being romance language derived] Klingon (which has more speakers than esperanto) is deficient in vocabulary.

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    $\begingroup$ Tangentially: Esperanto is very unlike Romance languages. Its nominal flexion is non-Romance (e.g., it has an ending for the accusative case, which no Romance language has had in the last thousand years); it has a great facility of making nominal and verbal compounds, much like German or Greek and unlike Latin or Romance languages ("ĉasoŝtelisto", poacher, from "ĉaso" hunt, chase and "ŝtelisto" thief, from "ŝteli" to steal; "ŝtelrigardi" to crib, plagiarize, from "ŝteli" to steal and "rigardi" to look, see); it has no grammatical gender; verbs are not inflected for person and number... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 28 '17 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ The problem with this, is there may be alot of stuff in the EB of which the alien simply doesn't have a word. Eg. something as simple to us as the word "dog". Maybe the alien doesn't have any dogs on their world, thus have no word for it. How is he going to translate it? $\endgroup$ – Raf Mar 29 '17 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ This is why good translators earn their paycheck. The alien however has mastered English otherwise he wouldn't be writing here. This says that at least one individual is fluent. Historically a lot of missionaries came into a region with a grammar and a dictionary, often badly made. The fact that not all of it readily translates is actually in favour of it being alien. $\endgroup$ – Sherwood Botsford Mar 30 '17 at 17:36
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Share your knowledge of the communication mechanism you use to connect to the library of knowledge you will use to answer the scientific questions proposed to you. Just because you are alien doesn't mean you are going to know every single thing there is to know at a moment's notice, so you will have prepared for being asked these questions ahead of time. Nearly instantaneous communication technology over large distances (dimensions?) will no longer provide shock and awe to current Earthlings. If our current communication technology is similar enough, the experts in that field could verify likelihood that it is legitimate.

If you are indeed able to remember absolutely anything scientific we could come up with, then we would be very interested in learning lots of new neurotransmitters used for memory function in a biological memory storage system (our brains for humans).

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    $\begingroup$ Exactly my thoughts as I was reading the other answers. They seem to assume that just because the being is from an advanced civilization that it remembers everything and can immediately easily provide lots of difficult to remember details (ex: "provide the equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica in your own language along with a alien/english dictionary and grammar"... I couldn't do that if I visited Mars and tried to prove my alien-ness to them) $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Mar 30 '17 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ I liked the stars answer as I thought about knowledge of the other worlds they would have visited too, but then I thought, what astronaut/explorer knows Everything about their home science, our science, or about the places they've been? Tell us about the cool tech you will use to access the huge knowledge-base you would use to give me answers! $\endgroup$ – N2ition Mar 31 '17 at 1:55
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The simplest solution I can think of, would be a metal or mineral unknown to here. Alternatively, a plant or animal would be possible, but that may cause complications (see bringing plants or animals into Australia, for example). A metal or mineral should be fairly easy to verify as being alien, and won't be shocking to the masses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Uhm, we're talking about knowledge, not something tangible. $\endgroup$ – Lupetto Mar 28 '17 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Knowledge of metals and minerals is knowledge as well. It's part of chemistry and geology. Eg. stainless steel is a metal, but requires knowledge to make it. Same with bronze, kevlar, titanium (making pure titanium is incredibly tricky). There's also fancy, high-tech metals, like AlON (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride) and metal foam. $\endgroup$ – Raf Mar 28 '17 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, sorry. I thought you were saying to bring a piece of my home-mineral collections to Earth. I mean, no way... :) $\endgroup$ – Lupetto Mar 28 '17 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ That could be possible, to verify entirely being alien, and not just some nutcase supergenious who invented some high-tech stuff or solved some complicated problems in his garage. He could bring a piece of metal to earth, explain how to make it, but it being impossible to make on earth due to some circumstances. The piece would be proof of the knowledge being not just theoretic, fully verifying the alien as alien. $\endgroup$ – Raf Mar 28 '17 at 16:24

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