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SPIE's OSETI III Conference (No. 4273)


The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
in the Optical Spectrum III



Message from Sir Arthur C. Clarke


Pre-conference message received from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, keynote speaker for the first OSETI Conference held in January 1993 (Proceedings No. 1867).


Dear Stuart,

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 moment now……)  

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


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