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October 28

October 28, 2009

Speaker: Gerrit Verschuur, Physics Department, University of Memphis

Title: Is Anyone Out There? The Search for Alien Intelligence in the Milky Way

Abstract: Gerrit Verschuur is a pioneer in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. He conducted the first radio search for alien signals that was capable of detecting a twin civilization, the results of which were published in 1973 in the journal Icarus, at the time edited by the late Carl Sagan. The talk will summarize some of the attempts by humans to contact other words and will consider our existence on this planet in the context of the extraordinary events that set the scene for the emergence of a technological civilization.

Close examination of several factors that we take totally for granted provide the context for a clearer understanding of why we have not already detected other civilizations. Taking these factors into account casts a sobering perspective on our place in space and the future of human life in the universe.

Verschuur is the author of 8 books for lay readers, editor of three texts in astronomy, has published extensively in the scientific literature, and holds several patents. As Adjunct Professor in the Physics Department, he continues to do research into the nature of interstellar neutral hydrogen.

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