Seth claims to have developed an interest in extraterrestrial life at the tender age of ten, when he first picked up a book about the solar system. This innocent beginning eventually led to a degree in radio astronomy, and now, as Senior Astronomer, Seth is an enthusiastic participant in the Institute’s SETI observing programs. He also heads up the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Study Group.
In addition, Seth is keen on outreach activities: interesting the public – and especially young people – in science in general, and astrobiology in particular. He’s co-authored a college textbook on astrobiology, and continues to write trade books on SETI. In addition, he’s published nearly 300 popular articles on science, gives many dozens of talks annually, and is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio show, “Are We Alone?” And, as might be evident from this overly effusive bio, he is also editor of Explorer.
He earned his physics degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.
He is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and the 2004 winner of the Klumpke-Roberts Award awarded by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy.
Before his involvement with SETI research, he used radio telescopes in the USA and the Netherlands, searching for clues to the ultimate fate of the universe by analyzing galaxy motion. While working at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, in his spare time he also founded and ran a computer animation company called DIGIMA.
He hosts the SETI Institute's radio program Are We Alone?. Each week, Shostak interviews guests about the latest scientific research on a variety of topics: cosmology, physics, genetics, paleontology, evolutionary biology and astrobiology, and once a month hosts "Skeptic Check", a show focused on debunking pseudo-science, U.F.O.s and practices such as astrology and dowsing. Are We Alone? is available for download at the SETI Institute's website and through podcasts.
His hobbies include photography, filmmaking, and electronics.
Shostak presented twelve 30-minute lectures on audio-tape and video titled "The Search for Intelligent Life in Space" for the Teaching Company in 1999.
He has been an observer for Project Phoenix (SETI) as well as an active participant in various international forums for SETI research.
He is also Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Permanent Study Group.
Dr. Shostak has been nominated by the SETI Institute to be one of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Nifty Fifty Speakers who will speak about his work and career to middle and high school students in October 2010.