Consciousness 2024

Intelligent Ways to Search for Extraterrestrials

Tue Aug 6, 2024
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

How can scientific rigor be used to move away from assumptions in science-fiction to systematically seek for intelligent life in the universe? What signals might we be able to scientifically detect?

Dr. Jason Wright, professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the director of the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center, will join us to give a broad perspective on intelligent ways to search for extraterrestrials including: historical ideas about aliens and contact; the history of the SETI Institute and its relationship with NASA; big ideas including the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox, radio waves and laser communications. He will talk about false positives such as the Wow! Signal and his experience with Tabby’s Star. He will also discuss the protocols and what will happen if and when we do find something (or someone?). He will share stories about what it is like to be at the nexus of science and the search for extraterrestrial life, including his interactions with the press and tabloids.

This is a don’t-miss program for anyone interested in science, the media, space or who has ever looked at the stars and wondered what else may be out there.

Recommended reading available at The Bookworm in Edwards:
(for the kids and grandkids, written by Jason’s wife, fellow Penn State Astronomy & Astrophysics Professor Dr. Julia Kregenow)

ABCs of Space” by Chris Ferrie and Julia Kregenow, PhD

Astrophysics for Babies” by Chris Ferrie and Julia Kregenow, PhD:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I Know Exactly What You Are” by Julia Kregenow, PhD:



Jason Wright

Jason Wright

Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics

Penn State