Episode 115: Searching for Aliens with the World’s Biggest Telescopes, with Dan Werthimer

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Feature Guest: Dan Werthimer


Physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, if aliens exist in the galaxy, then just where is everybody. And for nearly 40 years the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, has sought to answer that very question. Now they’re about to take it to the next level. Meet China’s FAST telescope (Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope). Now in the commissioning phase, when the largest single dish radio telescope in the world enters prime time early in 2017 it might give us a new year’s gift of galactic significance. To understand how the FAST Telescope will be a game changer in our search for alien intelligence, today we’re joined at The Star Spot by SETI pioneer and Chief Scientist for SETI@Home Dan Werthimer.


The Star Spot is now on the Radio!

The The Star Spot podcast is now The Star Spot podcast and radio show. That’s right. Your favourite astronomy program is now travelling through space, specifically the 1280AM frequency. Our broadcaster, CJRU The Scope at Ryerson, is now available on the radio dial, which means you can join us at The Star Spot at 1280AM every Sunday 8PM and Tuesday 6PM Eastern Time.

Visit http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/ to learn more about our partner radio station.

Current in Space

Do we really know the fate awaiting Earth when the sun enters its end of days? Anuj thinks we do now that we’ve found our future twin. Then Dave provides an update on Pluto’s surprisingly complex and sensitive matters of the heart. And can globular clusters shed light on the heart of our own galaxy.

About Our Guest

Dan Werthimer is a SETI pioneer and co-founder. He works at the Berkeley SETI Research Centre where he is Chief Scientist for SETI@home and director of the SERENDIP project (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations). Dr. Werthimer was Associate Professor in the Engineering and Physics departments of San Francisco State University and a visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University.


World’s largest radio telescope will search for dark matter, listen for aliens (Science mag)

FAST Radio Telescope Open for Business (Sky & Telescope magazine)

Dan Werthimer website

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