SPIE's OSETI III Conference (No. 4273)
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
in the Optical Spectrum III
Message from Sir Arthur C. Clarke
received from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, keynote speaker for the first OSETI
Conference held in January 1993 (Proceedings No. 1867).
Nice to hear from you - I have been utterly
overwhelmed with 2001 spin-offs - up to 50 e-mails per day!
First of all give my regards to Chandra
Wickramasinghe - as well as to Charles Townes (I believe I met him briefly at
MIT ages ago.)
I still recall how my friend John Pierce
wrote a paper about interstellar communication, proving conclusively that light
waves couldn't be used because unlike radio waves they are incoherent. Then the
invention of the laser disproved that assertion.
Of course my late friend Barney Oliver still
argued that radio waves are best, and by an interesting coincidence I have in my
hands the proofs of his posthumous book 'Modern English Misusage', which looks
absolutely fascinating and should be presented to all high schools when it comes
out (and dare I say to your new President?)
My feeling is we should listen at all
possible frequencies as soon as the technology allows - but I believe we may
have to go beyond Jupiter to get out of the solar Ionosphere and pick up the
ultra long waves.
And what about gravitational waves?
There may be stupid super – civilizations out there using the
equivalent of jungle drums by banging neutron stars together.
And now of course we have Gamma-ray bursters
- industrial accidents or merely part of Nature's vermin control mechanism? (Any
I think that's more than enough - my best
wishes to you all and here's to the success of somebody's SETI!
Arthur C Clarke
10th January 2001