Stephen D. Carver, The SETI League's Legal Services Committee chairman and South Central US Volunteer Coordinator, was nine years old in October 1957 when he first heard the startling news of a new Russian satellite, Sputnik. While viewing it one evening, he overheard a relative remark pessimistically about the fact that the dreaded "Communists," who had violently invaded Hungary barely a year before, now had the "orbital means" to destroy "us" from above with nuclear weapons. Carver's father, a chemical engineer who had worked on the Manhattan Project, often times made it clear to him that, while a nuclear war would be uncomfortable and difficult for us, it would end the Soviet empire forever. Then in 1961 the Berlin Wall went up. Shortly thereafter, during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, nuclear war seemed even more inevitable, but luckily President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev were able to defuse the madness.
Studying for his ham ticket in that year, Carver was an avid short wave listener and broadcast band DX-er. After taping some of the early 1960's "ConElRad" test broadcasts formerly transmitted on 640 and 1240 kilocycles in the AM broadcast band, he found that few adults, if any, wanted to hear the tapes, explore the possible consequences of World War III, or discuss the subject. Several things became clear, though, from the evidence Carver was provided: life in the country was less likely to result in vaporization; school desks were for hiding under, not for writing; Geiger counters were more important than flashlights or radios; and the "big war" was not only winnable, but inevitable. Not surprisingly for someone of such a background, Carver has always sought a low key, rural lifestyle, presently residing in the hills near a small town in Arkansas.
Carver pursued radio interests throughout the numerous states and Canadian provinces his family moved between, prior to upgrading to Extra Class Amateur radio operator in 1968 (now K5PT). That same year, Carver obtained a First Class Commercial radio license, and the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. Graduating in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1970, Carver worked in electronics and spent two years with the Federal Communications Commission as a field engineer.
Disillusioned with big cities (read "targets!"), Carver switched careers to law, and graduated with distinction from the University of Missouri Law School in 1974. Carver established a small, independent patent law firm in Arkansas in 1976, surviving financially at first by working in commercial radio. His present job duties include the preparation and filing of patent, trademark, and copyright applications; intellectual property law litigation; patent, trademark, copyright, and miscellaneous data base searching; and related licensing, negotiation and contract matters.
Carver is listed in Best Lawyers in America from 1992-1999. He is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the American Bar Association, the American Radio Relay League, the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the National Rifle Association (Life Member), the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA), and The SETI League (Volunteer Regional Coordinator for South Central US, as well as Chairman of its Legal Services Committee). Carver is attorney of record on over 120 patents issued in various technical categories over the last several years, and is the inventor of record of U.S. Patent No. 4,024,666.
Despite his enthusiastic discovery of John Kraus' famous book Big Ear in 1977, and his commercial and amateur radio background, Carver was not motivated to pursue any SETI-related activities until 1997, when he read a stunning and shocking article by Dr. Paul Shuch, The SETI League's Executive Director, published in Communications Quarterly. After joining The SETI League, Carver established his Project Argus station, EM34rv, in 1998, and continues to experiment with both microwave hardware and software. He is an active HF and VHF ham, and often can be heard on the SETI League 20-meter net frequency of 14.204 MHz
Steve is pleased to admit that, for most of his life, he was probably wrong about the Drake equation L factor - relating to the expected life span of evolving technological civilizations. He is willing to stipulate, after watching the Cold War fade away, that there is a reasonable chance that scientifically-inclined, communicative creatures, despite their intoxicating adoration of carnage and superstition, and their humble beginnings through random chemical evolution, can take a long enough break between wars and disasters to give ET communications a shot.
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this page last updated 24 February 2007
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