SETI pioneers : scientists talk about their search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Format: Print Book 1990
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QB54 .S44 1990
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  QB54 .S44 1990
"Are there beings in some sense like you, elsewhere in the universe, or are we the only ones around? It's one of the most basic questions there is." --Carl Sagan Carl Sagan, when asked his assessment of the importance of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), replied, "You find out who you are. It's a basic question. Are there beings in some sense like you, elsewhere in the universe, or are we the only ones around? It touches deeply into myth, folklore, religion, mythology; and every human culture in some way or another has wondered about that kind of question. It's one of the most basic questions there is." Why did some scientists decide to conduct a search for extraterrestrial intelligence? What factors in their personal development predisposed them to such a quest? What obstacles did they encounter along the way? To learn about their search, to preserve historical information not otherwise available, and to discover more about how scientific fields originate and develop, sociologist David Swift interviewed the first scientists to be involved in this fascinating quest. These SETI Pioneers reveal not only their involvement in the search, but also the facets of their personal backgrounds that led them to participate--family, education, intellectual growth--and their speculations about the nature of extraterrestrial life. Each interviewee is asked the same set of questions to facilitate comparison of how their careers developed. Introductory text by Swift reviews the emergence of SETI and early attempts to detect extraterrestrial life; a concluding interview with Paul Horowitz, a leader in the new generation of SETI scientists, reflects on the contributions of the pioneers. While a host of books have considered the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, none has considered the motivations of the individuals who initiated it; nor have any books documented from the participant's perspective the emergence of a new field of science while it was actually evolving. This collection of interviews thus sheds important light not only on the search for other life forms in our universe, but also on the nature of scientific discovery.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This is the only book that looks beyond the equations and into the backgrounds and beliefs of 16 leading proponents of SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) research. A series of verbatim interviews conducted in the early 1980s, Swift's volume examines the personal experiences and perspectives that led such scientists as Frank Drake, Ronald Bracewell, Jill Tarter, and Carl Sagan to formulate elaborate proposals for the detection of intelligent signals from outer space. The reader is treated to varying opinions on what public reaction might be to news of interstellar contact, what ETs might look like, and what long-term effects such contact might have on humanity. Swift asks the same set of questions, with minor individual variations, of all his interviewees, most of whom are Americans (although three are from Russia, and one each from Japan and Switzerland). Not the least interesting observation that Swift makes is that all of the scientists are either oldest sons or only children. Glossary, references; index. --George Eberhart"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This instructive book by a University of Hawaii sociologist compiles Q & A interviews with 17 researchers, mostly American, who are involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). While the field, which did not attract attention from scientists until 1959, remains a fledgling discipline, it now draws physicists, astronomers, electrical engineers, chemists, an aerospace physician into its orbit. Scientists featured here discuss current methods used to investigate ETI, and others they hope to develop, but general readers will most likely value the impact of their personalities--modest, open, thoughtful, occasionally waggish--above talk of technicalities. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Life on other planets.
Interstellar communication.
Scientists -- Interviews.
Publisher Tucson :University of Arizona Press,1990
Contributors Swift, David W.
Language English
Description xi, 434 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [427]-428) and index.
ISBN 0816511195 (alk. paper)
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