| H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.
Director of the SETI League
"Are We Alone? That question has haunted humankind since
first we realized that the points of light in the night sky are other suns. Today we have
the technology to seek a definitive answer! The SETI League is participatory science. We
are the international grass-roots organization dedicated to privatizing the Search for
Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Together, hundreds of members in dozens of countries are
keeping alive the quest for our cosmic companions. "
Introduction by Laura Lee
Are We Alone? (Isn't that a rather narcissistic, lonely arrogance?) But if not, then when
will "They" finally call us to say hello? (Or have they already dropped by?) The
signs of life are out there: planets circling distant suns, and the stuff of life -- amino
acids (the components of DNA) and water --- detected in deep space. And what are the odds,
given the billions of stars out there, that intelligent life has developed technology
similar to ours to utilize the same laws of physics that we do with radio astronomy. Would
they choose this means, or others, to signal their presence? Or do they have the
equivalent of TV and radio which has already sent out years of information containing
waves to distant parts, with a show and tell display of who we really are? (Not that
"I Love Lucy" is what NASA would choose as our signature card.) So, how is SETI
(The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) a group of radio astronomers eager to
intercept ET's phone call, doing now without government funding? How has the effort
evolved since the early days? How many ways are there to detect ET signals, and how do
they calculate the chances of detecting ET's call? (Better, we hope, than finding a needle
in a haystack) Paul will describe SETI's history --- the first SETI effort, Project Ozma,
the pivotal Order of the Dolphin Meeting (the dolphin being the metaphor for interspecies
communication) attended by Carl Sagan and John Lily early in the careers, Frank Drake's
Equation with which to estimate the odds and quantify life in the universe, and the single
most tantalizing and enigmatic signal thus far received by SETI.
Want the SETI brochure? It's too big to email, so you'll have to request it
by post. Email your name, postal address and additional comments to Paul Shuch directly at
"The Science of Aliens"
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