SETI Pioneers: Scientists Talk about Their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

SETI Pioneers: Scientists Talk about Their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

by David W. Swift

Hardcover

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Overview


"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 SaganCarl 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816511198
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 04/28/1990
Pages: 434
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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