E.T Is Out There, Probably…

“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see myself. I see the generation of the people behind me.” ~Seth Shostak

The Ted Talk above was given by Seth Shostak, a researcher at the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute, whose job is to look for aliens. Shostak mentions that we aren’t going to find alien life in the next 100 years. He doesn’t even think we’re going to find it in the next 1 million years.


He thinks that we’re going to find alien life in the next 20 years. The way that we are looking for life right now is through sending and receiving signals that can be carried through star systems. When astronomers first started using that technology in the 1960’s to comb through the galaxy, they we’re going very slow. 40 years later, the technology is the same, but the efficiency has gone up. It’s gone up almost 100 trillion times better than before. That number keeps going up.

Shostak thinks that we will find alien life in the next 20 years, but he does not think that we can do that until we can get the younger generation interested in science. When science was first being studied, you could pick up a book in a library and learn everything there is to know. Now, it takes years and years of research just to learn things people already know. He comments about how little science research people are doing these days and that if we do want to find intelligent life that needs to change.

I think that this talk was especially interested compared to others I’ve seen. The way he presented and talked about his information was really interesting and engaging. He kept dropping little jokes here and there that got either laughter or silence, but he kept going the entire time. He was also 100% confident with what he was talking about. There was no stopping to think about what he was saying, he just said it.

This entire talk relates to my big question because my question is “Is there intelligent life outside of earth?”. This talk is about how Shostak thinks that we will find intelligent life in 20 years and why it’s possible, and that answers a lot of my question.

Some possible people here at Whittier to talk to about this question are Glen Piner and Seamus Lagan of the Physics department.

Some possible famous astronomers or scientists to follow on twitter and read about for this question are Stephen Hawking and Neil Degrasse Tyson.