Douglas Vakoch is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, Calif.
The SETI Institute (www.seti.org) has been part of a search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe that has been ongoing for 50 years now. SETI astronomers use big radio telescopes to search for electromagnetic transmissions from civilizations on distant planets. Its mission statement states: “We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.”
Dr. Vakoch researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact.
Vakoch leads an international group of scientists, artists and scholars from the humanities, as they ponder how we could communicate what it’s like to be human across the vast distances of interstellar space.