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Published:April 2nd, 2010 09:34 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, S.E.T.I. Institute

Judyth Piazza chats with Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, S.E.T.I. Institute

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)


Seth claims to have developed an interest in extraterrestrial life at the tender age of ten, when he first picked up a book about the solar system.

This innocent beginning eventually led to a degree in radio astronomy, and now, as Senior Astronomer, Seth is an enthusiastic participant in the Institute`s SETI observing programs. He also heads up the International Academy of Astronautics` SETI Permanent Study Group.

In addition, Seth is keen on outreach activities: interesting the public " and especially young people " in science in general, and astrobiology in particular.

He`s co-authored a college textbook on astrobiology, and continues to write trade books on SETI. In addition, he`s published nearly 300 popular articles on science, gives many dozens of talks annually, and is the host of the SETI Institute`s weekly science radio show, Are We Alone? " And, as might be evident from this overly effusive bio, he is also editor of Explorer.

Adopt a Scientist Opportunity

You can be part of the production of the Institute`s radio show, as you join Seth Shostak and producer Molly Bentley in conceiving, writing, and editing a show about an exciting area of contemporary astrobiology research. If your temperament and vocal cords are up to it, you can also be on-air talent.

Or perhaps you`d like to take a trip to the Allen Telescope Array for two days of observing and shooting photos of the telescope. And if thinking big is your forte, it`s possible to join Seth and several dozen international SETI researchers at the International Astronautics Congress, being held this Fall in Hyderabad, India.


Allen Telescope Array

It`s one of the most persistently enticing sirens to beckon the SETI community: a major telescope that can be dedicated to the search. Despite the seductiveness of this idea, construction of an instrument designed to meet the requirements of full-time SETI has always foundered on the large costs.

In the next few years, that situation is going to change. Thanks to the far-sighted benevolence of technologists Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) and Nathan Myhrvold (former Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft), a new telescope will be constructed that will allow a targeted SETI search to proceed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The new instrument, now called the Allen Telescope Array, was known formerly as the One Hectare Telescope, or 1hT, is a joint effort by the SETI Institute and the University of California, Berkeley. Because of its novel construction-an array of inexpensive antennas-it can be simultaneously used for both SETI and cutting-edge radio astronomy research.

The ATA is being built at the existing Hat Creek Observatory, run by the Radio Astronomy Lab at Berkeley, and located in the Cascade Mountains just north of Lassen Peak in California.

Are We Alone Radio Program (host)

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