Strategies in the Search for ET
Google Tech Talk June 11, 2009 ABSTRACT Presented by Seth Shostak, SETI Institute. The scientific hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence is now into its fifth decade, and we still haven't uncovered a confirmed peep from the cosmos. For that matter, we still dont know if life at any level of intelligence exists beyond Earth. Could this mean that finding aliens, even if theyre out there, is a project for the ages one that might take centuries or longer? The preferred technique used to hunt down cosmic company is to look for persistent radio signals or laser flashes from nearby star systems. But could this be a flawed strategy? In this presentation, well consider some strategies that new SETI experiments might consider, as well as discuss why its possible that we might find evidence of sophisticated intelligence within only a few decades. Seth is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals. He has written several hundred popular magazine and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film and television. He lectures on astronomy and other subjects at Stanford and other venues in the Bay Area, and for the last six years, has been a Distinquished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is also Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Permanent Study Group. Every week he hosts the SETI Institutes science radio show, Are We Alone? Seth has edited and contributed to a half dozen books. He has also been the principal author of four: Sharing the Universe: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life, Life in the Universe (textbook with Jeff Bennett), Cosmic Company (with Alex Barnett), and, most recently, Confessions of an Alien Hunter. Seth Shostak was hosted by Boris Debic.