SETI’s chief alien hunter brings 'true confessions' to ASU
Astronomers estimate there are 70 sextillion stars in the visible universe. That's a 7 followed by 22 zeros. Searching that inconceivably vast expanse for what would be the most sensational, and potentially disruptive discovery in the history of humankind is just another day at the office for Seth Shostak.
Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., is author of "Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence." The book was published earlier this year by National Geographic. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, is "an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology."
Shostak brings his personal account as an "alien hunter" to Arizona State University for this year's "Science Fact Meets Science Fiction" lecture. The annual community event is presented by ASU's BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.
The lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Galvin Playhouse on ASU's Tempe Campus. It is free and open to the public; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Computer Aided Real-Time Translation (CART) services will be provided.
"Dr. Shostak is an experienced astronomer, world-renowned expositor and television celebrity. His talk promises to be a highly entertaining account of his experience as an alien hunter," says Paul Davies, ASU professor and founding director of the BEYOND Center.
The lecture, according to Davies, "will appeal to anyone who has ever asked themselves the profound question: Are we alone in the universe?"
Davies, a theoretical physicist and a co-director of ASU's cosmology initiative, is putting the finishing touches on a book about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, to be published in 2010 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of SETI. "The Eerie Silence" is a comprehensive fresh look at the entire SETI enterprise, according to Davies.
Shostak's book, "Confessions of an Alien Hunter," displays how real science differs from Hollywood's view of extraterrestrial life. Earlier this year, Shostak had a chance to talk about his book and how science fact differs from science fiction as a guest on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
"Sharing the Universe: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life;" "Cosmic Company," with Alex Barnett; and "Life in the Universe" with Jeff Bennet are among other books by Shostak.
For much of his career, Shostak conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies. He has published nearly 60 papers in professional journals, edited and contributed to several books, and written several hundred popular magazine and Web articles covering topics in astronomy, technology, film and television.
Shostak has a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University.
He hosts the SETI Institute's weekly science radio show "Are We Alone?" which is broadcast on Discovery Channel Radio. The show also can be found on iTunes, Juice and other podcast sites. Shostak also is chair of the International Academy of Astronautics' SETI Permanent Study Group.
The BEYOND Center, a pioneering international research hub in ASU's College Of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is at the forefront of research in astrobiology. For more information about the center visit beyond.asu.edu or call 480-965-3240. Online maps of the Tempe campus and parking facilities are available at www.asu.edu/map.
Written by Dan Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Carol Hughes, email@example.com