Senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in California’s Silicon Valley, Seth Shostak is engaged in the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This subject has been known to incite otherwise rational folk to claim that aliens are buzzing the countryside and occasionally making unholy interferences into their personal lives.
Shostak spent the early decades of his increasingly lengthy life studying galaxies using radio telescopes. At some point during these scholarly activities, he realized that the hardware used to plumb the depths of the universe could also be turned to the task of seeking intelligent cosmic company. He now occupies his days, and quite a few nights, with efforts to eavesdrop on alien radio broadcasts.
He has written hundreds of popular articles on astronomy, film, technology, and other sundry and enervating topics. He has also assaulted the public with four inoffensive trade books on the efforts by scientists to prove that we’re not alone in the universe. With a Boulder-based coauthor, he has written a college textbook. He also hosts a weekly, one-hour radio show on science.
Shostak’s background is eclectic and encompasses such diverse activities as filmmaking, railroading, and computer animation. A frequent lecturer and sound-bite artist on television and radio, he can occasionally be heard lamenting that, according to his own estimate, he was born two generations too soon to benefit from the cure for death. He is the inventor of the electric banana, a fact that he continues to insist has had little positive effect on his lifestyle. But, according to Shostak, “it did have apeel.”