Encounter 13

Dr. Seth Shostak


Seth Shostak is Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. SETI stands for “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”, in other words the search for ET or intelligent life in outer space.

Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute picks up radio waves from the universe with its array of huge radio telescopes, records them and analyzes them to see if they display any particular patterns. In this way scientists hope to find indications that some form of intelligent life out there is trying to send us a message. Every Thursday from the SETI Institute’s radio studio in Mountain View, Seth Shostak hosts ‘Big Picture Science’, a one-hour radio show with a huge cult following whose podcast keeps people all over the world up to speed on the themes and issues now being investigated at the SETI.

With his love of science fiction, the question whether there were other intelligent forms of life in the universe apart from us humans was one that fascinated OUBEY from a very tender age. At a less tender age, rational-analytical considerations led him to believe that we people are not the “only life form” – and possibly not even the most intelligent life form! – in the vast reaches of interstellar space.

In April 2011 quite by chance I saw a fascinating and very lively TV interview with Seth Shostak, and immediately got the idea of inviting him to an Encounter with OUBEY. I wrote to him that same evening and his response was instant and affirmative. One year later I visited him with one of OUBEYs paintings. The Encounter took place in his radio studio at the SETI. It was astonishing what a dazzling firework display of associations from the realms of biology and archeology the encounter with this painting could trigger in the mind of an astronomer researching extraterrestrial intelligence.

Following this eventful encounter with OUBEYs “Krypto”, Dr. Shostak was very willing to give a talk at the OUBEY Symposium held at the Goethe Institute San Francisco in October 2012. The talk was recorded on video and can be seen here.

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