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Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: SETI Past, Present, and Future (The Frontiers Collection) [Hardcover]

H. Paul Shuch
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

10 Jan 2011 3642131956 978-3642131950 2011

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.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 564 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (10 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3642131956
  • ISBN-13: 978-3642131950
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,738,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

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, AstroMadness.com, 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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous overview of SETI 4 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover
It's pricey, but 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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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, wide-ranging analysis of SETI 23 Sep 2011
By Keith Cooper - Published on Amazon.com
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!' signal by the man who discovered it; excellent pieces about the SETI League's Project Argus and how amateurs can create their own network of radio telescopes; a remarkable history of SETI at NASA by John Billingham; cultural aspects of SETI by Shostak, Denning and Brin; and a delightful surprise in the final pages with a lost letter by one of the founding fathers of the field, the late Philip Morrison. There are also several essays devoted to the controversy over messaging extraterrestrial intelligence (METI), with articles by Alexander Zaitsev and David Brin arguing for and against METI respectively. It's evident there is still a gaping chasm between the two ideologies.

What I really liked about this book is the way it not only looks back at the past half a century of SETI, but looks forward with speculations as to where SETI may take us. Good, thought-provoking stuff!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stakes are higher than most people would realise. 17 Nov 2011
By Joe90 - Published on Amazon.com
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.

Joe.
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