Seth Shostak
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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 Institute’s science radio show, “Are We Alone?”

Seth has edited and contributed to a half dozen books. His most recent tome is Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic).

Entries by Seth Shostak

우리를 안달 나게 하는 화성

(0) Comments | Posted December 25, 2014 | 2:13 PM

화성은 우리를 안달 나게 한다.

이 빨간 행성에 생명체가 존재할 수 있다는 뉴스가 꽃가루 알레르기가 발생했다는 소식만큼 자주 나온다. 어느 주간지든 열어보라. 드넓고 황량하고 건조한 지면 어딘가에 작고 괴상하게 생긴 우리 태양계의 이웃이 도사리고 있을 거라는 연구를 과학 코너에서 찾을 수 있을 것이다.

이런 흥미로운 얘기는 새로운 것이 아니다. 이미...

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Mars Methane: Life at Last?

(18) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 11:46 AM

Mars is a tease.

It seems that discoveries hinting at life on the Red Planet are as recurrent as Kansas hay fever. Open up the science section of any periodical, and you'll invariably trip across new research encouraging us to believe that somewhere, skulking in the vast, dry landscapes...

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Alan Turing and the Five Sigma Theory of Progress

(9) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Maybe it's something in the stout, but what's up with this burst of biopics about British boffins?

Trundle down to the local cineplex and you can enjoy a brief history of iconic physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. If your stamina is adequate, you can also savor...

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Talking to Aliens

(60) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 12:38 PM

What do you say to a space alien? This question might not be the foremost puzzle in your life, but it was the subject of a lively two-day conference at California's SETI Institute this week.

Here's why: A decade of research by astronomers now suggests that a trillion planets dot...

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'인터스텔라'를 보며 떠오르는 과학적 의문

(6) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 10:08 AM

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인류가 생존을 포기하고 떠나야 할 정도로 지구가 최악의 상태가 될 수 있을까? 최근 영화관을 점령하고 있는, SF영화 인터스텔라의 전제가 바로 이것이다.

환경 파괴는 우주를 소재로 한 영화들이 흔히 이용하는 소재다. 다만 인터스텔라는 신선한 시각으로 이 문제를 다룬다. '우주 전쟁'에서 '오블리비언'까지 대다수 영화에서는 자신들의...

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'Interstellar' -- A Galaxy Too Far?

(51) Comments | Posted November 8, 2014 | 12:48 PM

Could Earth really get so bad that we have to leave? That's the premise of Interstellar, the sci-fi epic of Homeric ambition and eonian length now filling the multiplexes.

Environmental decay is a familiar idea in space opera, although one that Interstellar has refreshingly turned around. In countless predecessors,...

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Is Life an Illusion?

(195) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 11:12 AM

Do you ever wonder about the meaning of life, and in particular your life? Well, of course you do, but maybe you should ease up on the angst. There are academics who say you don't have a life. You're just an app.

This disconcerting idea has been most famously promoted...

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So What Really Goes Down if We Find the Aliens?

(129) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 2:31 PM

If we trip across life that's not of this world, do we blast it or befriend it? What impact would it have on our society?

This was the topic of a two-day symposium held at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress last week. Several dozen researchers...

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Forget Space Travel: Build This Telescope

(77) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 11:56 AM

The first telescopes were toys, charming amusements. Sure, there were a few practical uses, such as observing distant ships coming into harbor. Doing so allowed merchants to hurry down to the docks ahead of their telescope-free competitors, and snag all the better goods. Military commanders occasionally found telescopes handy as...

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Why the Aliens Want Earth

(296) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 2:12 PM

Expedia's galaxy-wide website must be offering Earth at a major discount. In one movie after another, aliens decide to pass up competing Milky Way attractions -- including neutron stars, antimatter clouds, hot Jupiters, and a 4 billion-trillion-trillion-ton central black hole -- in favor of our planet. The small speck of...

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Life on the Billionth Rock From the Sun

(7) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 4:41 PM

I've always regarded asteroids as somewhat like dinosaurs: mildly interesting and faintly dangerous. But I'm now thinking that they might be a profitable real estate investment.

As any astronomer (including this one) will tell you, asteroids hold the answer to a perennial puzzle about the formation of planets. In particular,...

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What Astronomy Says About Religion

(134) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 1:19 PM

It's a recurrent experience that never fails to perplex me: Random people will seek my advice on questions of religion. Rather than posing queries about how the cosmos works, they want me to enlighten them on why.

This sometimes occurs in the most unlikely of venues. A few years ago,...

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Kepler 186f: Is It Inhabited?

(35) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 1:29 PM

It's so far away that even if you booked a trip on the speediest of our rockets, you'd have 100 million years to polish your Sudoku skills en route to Kepler 186f.

That's probably not going to happen. But what has happened is that a team of astronomers, after carefully...

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Dating Game Not Mating Game

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2014 | 2:03 PM

Jim Lange died this week, and a familiar voice is gone from the ether. He was primarily a radio guy, but my memories of Lange will always be of his most famous on-air presence: hosting the popular network TV show The Dating Game. Although it sounds oxymoronic, for years I...

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Astronomy's Alpha Male

(4) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 11:58 AM

It will be the mother of all telescopes, and you can bet it will do for astronomy what genome sequencing is doing for biology.

The clumsy, if utilitarian, name of this mirrored monster is Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST. You can't use it yet, but a peak in the...

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Like Creation Science? Toss Your Smartphone!

(154) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 6:00 PM

Bill Nye decided to be a fireman this week.

You know the bromide about firefighters, right? Unlike us, they run into burning buildings. Well, Nye took on creationist Ken Ham in a few hours of emotional debate this week about the merits of "creation science."

It's always a tough call...

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The End of the World: Science or Religion?

(63) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Harold Camping died last month. In case you don't remember, Camping, the president of evangelical Family Radio, predicted that the world would end in 2011. Twice.

He made these prognostications on the basis of numerology, which sounds like it might be a sophomore-level math subject, but isn't. The data for...

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Is Alien Life Surfacing Nearby?

(17) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 2:37 PM

Extraterrestrial life may be showing up in some obvious places. No, this is not about hairless aliens that have come to Earth in saucer-shaped craft, but less sophisticated life just next door.

A century ago, scientists believed there was only one obvious stomping ground for alien biology in our solar...

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When Will We Build the Starship Enterprise?

(38) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 2:25 PM

A practical way to travel between the stars is a must-have for space opera, and a sine qua non for our frequently vaunted future as a galactic society. But are we ever really going to boldly go to worlds around other suns?

We'll have to, if we hope to occasionally...

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地球型惑星の数は、それこそ天文学的だ

(6) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 4:20 AM

太陽に似た恒星約500億個うち約22%が、表面に液体の水を保持するのにちょうどよい軌道距離の惑星をもっていることが明らかになった。言い換えれば、そのような恒星の5つに1つは、いわゆる「アビタブル・ゾーン(生命の生存に適した宇宙の領域)」内に地球サイズの軌道周回惑星をもっていることになる。

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