University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Wednesday, January 30th 2008
4:00 pm:
Speaker: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute
Subject: When Will We Discover the Extraterrestrials?
Refreshments served in Room 216 Physics at 3:30 p.m.

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 don’t know if life – at any level of intelligence – exists beyond Earth. Could this mean that finding aliens, even if they’re out there, is a project for the ages – one that might take centuries or longer?

New technologies and new strategies for use in the search for extraterrestrial biology suggest that, despite the continued dearth of hard evidence for life elsewhere or signals from other societies, there is good reason to expect that success might not be far off – that within a few decades we might find evidence of sophisticated civilizations.

Why this is so, what contact would tell us, and what such a discovery would mean, are the subject of this talk on the continuing efforts to establish our place in the universe of thinking beings.

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