Scientist will explain alien search to potheads

Seth Shostak
Seth Shostak has been seeking alien signals for more than two decades. (SETI Institute Photo)

You don’t have to be stoned to appreciate SETI scientist Seth Shostak’s perspective on the search for extraterrestrials – but it wouldn’t hurt.

That’s what the Goodship Higher Education Series is counting on when the SETI Institute’s senior astronomer delivers the series’ first lecture of the year in a marijuana-friendly environment at Seattle’s Melrose Market Studios.

Pot consumption isn’t allowed at the venue, but if attendees want to show up under the influence on Feb. 9, that’s fine with the organizers. That’s also fine with Shostak, although he admits that speaking to an unabashedly stoned audience would be something completely different for him.

“I’ve never had the experience before … that I’m aware of,” the 73-year-old researcher told GeekWire.

Musing about life elsewhere in the universe is just the sort of cosmic subject that comes up when folks kick back around the campfire or the living room, with or without intoxicating substances. The Goodship series is designed to create that cosmic feeling by “partnering altered states with big ideas.”

There are few ideas bigger than SETI – an acronym that’s short for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. For more than a half-century, radio astronomers like Shostak have been combing through data, looking for the telltale signature of intentional broadcasts beyond Earth.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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