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Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: SETI Past, Present, and Future (The Frontiers Collection) Hardcover – January 10, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-3642131950 ISBN-10: 3642131956 Edition: 2011th

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Product Details

  • Series: The Frontiers Collection (Book 95)
  • Hardcover: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3642131956
  • ISBN-13: 978-3642131950
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,663,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“This book gives an in-depth overview of the history of SETI … . if you’re interested in Extraterrestrial Intelligence, though not necessarily in radio-astronomy and the specific SETI projects, this book is a good encyclopedia type of book. If you manage to read it all from cover to cover, you’ll be certainly able to impress anyone coming to ask you whether you’ve seen little green men while observing Mars or anyone trying to corner you with questions about aliens.” (Kadri Tinn,, September, 2013)

“From October 30 to November 3, 1961, a small group of experts from a wide range of disciplines met in an attempt to estimate the number of technological civilizations in the galaxy. This book is a celebration of that meeting, and it is fitting that its 30 articles are written by experts from diverse fields. … the material is accessible to a lay audience, and the writing is generally clear and engaging. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.” (T. Barker, Choice, Vol. 49 (4), December, 2011)

“It is fascinating to see how much has changed, and how much hasn’t changed, with the arrival of this hefty tome nearly half a century later. … if you have a serious interest in SETI, this book provides the wide, eye-opening overview that other book lack. A must buy.” (Keith Cooper, Astronomy Now, June, 2011)

From the Back Cover

This book is a collection of essays written by the very scientists and engineers who have led, and continue to lead, the scientific quest known as SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Divided into three parts, the first section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Past’, written by the surviving pioneers of this then emerging discipline, reviews the major projects undertaken during the first 50 years of SETI science and the results of that research.

In the second section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Present’, the present-day science and technology is discussed in detail, providing the technical background to contemporary SETI instruments, experiments, and analytical techniques, including the processing of the received signals to extract potential alien communications.

In the third and final section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Future’, the book looks ahead to the possible directions that SETI will take in the next 50 years, addressing such important topics as interstellar message construction, the risks and assumptions of interstellar communications, when we might make contact, what aliens might look like and what is likely to happen in the aftermath of such a contact.

More About the Author

Dr. SETI is the stage name of the blatant exhibitionist who inhabits the body of noted author and educator Prof. H. Paul Shuch (rhymes with luck). A cross between Tom Lehrer and Carl Sagan, it is said that Dr. SETI sings like Sagan and lectures like Lehrer. Armed with a laptop computer and an acoustical guitar, Dr. SETI travels the world making the search for life in space accessible to audiences as diverse as humanity itself.

Since the formation of the nonprofit, membership-supported SETI League in 1994, H. Paul Shuch has served as its Executive Director (now emeritus), coordinating its science mission and delivering hundreds of Dr. SETI ® presentations to thousands of enthusiasts, in more than a dozen countries on five continents, and in more than half of the United States.

In his more than 600 publications, as well as at college campuses, science centers, public lecture halls, and on television and radio, Dr. SETI's unique mix of science and song seeks to educate as well as entertain. He compels the reader or the listener to contemplate a fundamental question, which has haunted humankind since first we realized that the points of light in the night sky are other suns: Are We Alone?

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Cooper on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you have a serious interest in SETI, this book provides the wide, eye-opening overview that some other books lack. I thought it was a must buy for anyone with a serious interest in the field.

I've got lots of books about SETI, including a copy of Iosif Shklovskii and Carl Sagan's 'Intelligent Life in the Universe'. Comparing that book to this new one, it's fascinating to see how much has changed in SETI, and how much hasn't. The technology available now allows searches across billions of narrowband channels with rapid analysis, searches are beginning at optical wavelengths for laser signals, while a million people contribute to the greatest super-computing project ever in the form of SETI@home. And yet the same uncertainties remain, from Fermi's Paradox to the never-ending battle for funding.

Edited by the SETI League's H Paul Shuch, SETI: Past Present and Future features essays, articles and technical treatises from 26 experts in the field, including the SETI Institute's Jill Tarter and Seth Shostak, former head of NASA's SETI programme John Billingham, astronomer Claudio Maccone, science fiction writers David Brin and Stephen Baxter, anthropologist Kathryn Denning, Shuch himself, and many others. A few of the chapters are highly technical and mathematical, but the vast majority are accessible to the intelligent layman. As Shuch says in his preface, "We, the authors, invite you to seek your own level of comfort, and then to challenge yourself, to reach beyond it."

Some chapters have been published elsewhere, but most are new (to this reviewer). The best chapters include overviews of Project Cyclops and the mystery of the `Wow!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe90 on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fasinating that a simple almost science fiction sounding activity could in reality be the greatest discovery in history. The first third of the book is historical regarding 'SETI' searches and quite intereresting, Moore's law certainly has an affect on computational speed and technology developments in bandwidth channels, the middle section is more technical and engineering/maths oriented but the last secion has some brilliant insights by various writers of humanities past and present struggles and our future.

If a discovery was actually made in our life time it may offer a chance at seeing if a civilisation can survive wars, greed, population expansion, environmental issues and energy needs. If so then it is postulated this knowledge would act as a positive catalyst for our own world.

An expensive book, thoughtfull thinking but not accessible in parts to everybody i.e. non scientists but an imnportant collection of writings with something for everyone.

My view is we should keep looking and while no politician would be brave enough (or foolish enough) to put this kind of expenditure on their political campaign its the public who have a right to know what is out their and whether we are capable of managing our own future by educating them we can possibly influence the politicians that SETI is the right thing to do. A discovery of this type may come at just the right time but is only possible if there is a push to keep looking and expand on the searches. Best to read the book and decide for oneself and then spread the word, the stakes are higher than most people would realise.

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