SETI

Probing Supermassive Black Hole Growth with Next Generation Telescopes

skaA new generation of telescopes is coming online. Operating at wavelengths from radio, through optical, to gamma ray, they are particularly well-suited to time-domain survey science -- essentially, making large-format movies of the sky.

Clicks, whistles and pulses: what can SETI learn from the parallel challenges of dolphin communication research?

dolphinsThe search for signals out of noise is a problem not only with radio signals from the sky but in the study of animal communication on Earth. Like SETI radio signal searches, dolphin sound analysis includes the detection, recognition, analysis, and interpretation of signals.

The Algorithmic Origins of Life

The origin of life is arguably one of the greatest unanswered questions in science. A primary challenge is that without a proper definition for life – a notoriously challenging problem in its own right – the problem of how life began is not well posed. Here we propose that the transition from non-life to life may correspond to a fundamental shift in causal structure, where information gains direct, and context-dependent, causal efficacy over matter, a transition that may be mapped to a nontrivial distinction in how living systems process information.

The Evolution of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Life: A Theological Assessment

The set of assumptions that generates progressive research programs associated with the search for extra-terrestrial life--especially intelligent life--constitute a myth-like picture of reality.

Contact with ET using math? Not so fast.

It is often said that mathematics is a universal language that we could use to make contact with another intelligence. But is that really the case? Or is this just a disguised version of anthropocentrism?

A New Feed for the Allen Telescope Array and the Science That it Will Enable

The current feeds of the antennas in the Allen Telescope Array are somewhat unusual and provide wide bandwidth and good sensitivity.  We have recently developed an upgrade to the feed which has even more bandwidth and, equally important, substantially better sensitivity.  The new sensitivity is about as good as can be achieved.  We describe the steps to the upgrade and then lay out new science that is enabled by it, including SETI and the structure of both the nearby and distant universe.

ET Math: How Different Could It Be?

We like to think that intelligent aliens would have the same basic ideas about numbers and geometry as us, but, even if they do, they might express those ideas very differently. To illustrate what different forms a concept can take, I will show how differently the law ab=ba has been interpreted at different times in human mathematical culture. This seemingly basic law has several different origins -- in geometry, number theory, and set theory -- some of which seem alien even to experienced mathematicians.

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