How to Talk to Aliens

Presenter: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute
When: January 12, 2015 12PM PST

“Dear E.T. …” So far, so good. But now what? Writing is never easy, but what if your task was to craft a message to aliens living elsewhere in the universe, and your prose would represent all humankind? Got writer’s block yet?

What to say to the aliens was the focus of a recent conference in which participants shifted their attentions away from listening for extraterrestrial signals to transmitting some. In this show, we report on the “Communicating Across the Cosmos” conference held at the SETI Institute in December 2014.

Find out what scientists think we should say. Also, how archeology could help us craft messages to an unfamiliar culture. Plus, why journalists might be well-suited to writing the message. And, a response to Stephen Hawking’s warning that attempting to contact aliens is too dangerous.

Guests:

Douglas Vakoch – Director of interstellar message composition, SETI Institute
Paul Wason – Archaeologist, anthropologist and vice president for the life sciences and genetics program at the Templeton Foundation
Al Harrison – Emeritus professor of psychology, University of California, Davis
Morris Jones – Journalist and space analyst in Sydney, Australia
Shari Wells-Jensen – Professor of English, Bowling Green State University

Descripción en español

This episode was tagged with: SETI astronomy archaeology linguistics journalism history extraterrestrials ET aliens

Big Picture Science

  • The Big Picture Science radio show and podcast engages the public with astrobiology through lively and intelligent storytelling. Science radio doesn’t have to be dull. The only dry thing about our program is the humor. Big Picture Science takes on big questions by interviewing leading researchers and weaving together their stories of discovery in a clever and off-kilter narrative style.
  • Subscribe to this series

Other Seminars in this Series