SETI - 03


None Today


OBJECTIVE:   I will be able to relate one way that scientists are searching for extraterrestrial intelligence after today's class.


  • SETI


In keeping with keeping things rather *light* here at the end of the year, I'm asking you to take a gander at one of my all-time favorite science fiction movies: CONTACT.

As I mentioned in our (very lightly attended-- ACK!) Monday class, the movie is based on a book by Carl Sagan... a personal hero of mine (I saw him speak at the University of Hawaii when I in High School).

Sagan was a famous astronomer from Cornell University back in the day...

Anywho.. .please go watch CONTACT if you can.

I don't know if it is available on any of the streaming services but it is kinda cheam to rent. If you can swing it, please do so...

If not, check out the synopsis HERE on Wikipedia

After watching the film (or reading the snyopsis), please address the following:

1) What does "SETI" stand for?

2) Is SETI a real thing? In otherwords, are there real scientists doing real world science called "SETI"?

3) The movie CONTACT was based on a popular fiction book by Carl Sagan (although he died just before the movie was released). Why is that significant?

There were two indications that the "signal from Vega" in the movie "Contact" was created by an intelligent species.

  • What were they?
  • Do you believe that CONTACT sceanario was authentic?
    • State a reason and then support your claim with some sort of evidence or data.
  • How was Dr Arroway attempting to gain evidence for extra-terrestrial intelligence?
    • Why is it so difficult to do that?

Work with your group to answer those questions and then go online and take a look... be sure to record your sources


The movie CONTACT attempts to weave a number of themes throughout the movie regarding politics, science, the politics of science, religion, philosophy and others.

  • What theme do you think worked best in the movie?
  • What science them worked best?
  • What science theme didn't work for you?

Now please take a look at the following

Now let's take a wolgemuthian skimread of THIS

Here's what we'll do:

  • Read the first paragraph completely
  • Then read the first sentence of the second paragraph. If it looks interesting, continue reading until it is no longer interesting. If it isn't interesting, skip that paragraph and move to the 3rd paragraph.
  • Continue on that way... the key is you HAVE to be disciplined, you can't just say everything is boring and skip skip skip.... trust me, it works.