The first scientific life-in-the-universe conference was held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank WV, in 1961. For about four decades now, conferences touching on the topics of this course have been sponsored pe-riodically by the International Astronomical Union, and under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics. In the past, these meetings fell under the heading of "Bioastronomy." "Astrobiology" is merely NASA's latest buzz-word for this ongoing research. Nevertheless, as an academic discipline, astrobiology is only recently arrived on the scene. Few colleges or universities currently offer astrobiology courses - and still fewer at the undergraduate level. Thus, students can envision themselves as standing on the pier, look-ing out across largely uncharted waters. Prof. Shuch's course is intended to bring order and understanding to the regions where once there be only dragons.
Founded in 1812, Lycoming College is a small, church-affiliated liberal arts and sciences institution, boasting 1500 students, 100 faculty members, small classes, and highly interdisciplinary education. Among its variety of undergraduate programs offered are BA and BS degrees in both Astronomy and Physics. The Lycoming campus is located in downtown Williamsport PA, a small community of 30,000 which calls itself a "college town." In addition to Lycoming College, Williamsport is home to the Pennsylvania College of Technology, a Penn State University affiliate where Prof. Shuch taught for several years before joining the SETI League as Executive Director in 1995.
Largely using radio telescopes and optical telescopes, SETI scientists seek to determine whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have privatized the research. Amateur and professional scientists interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, and citizens wishing to help support it, should email join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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this page last updated 3 February 2007
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