In the latest episode of Gear Club Podcast, Eventide co-founder Richard Factor takes listeners to outer space in a discussion on the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). In addition to his work at Eventide, Richard is the founder and president of the SETI League: a non-profit, membership-supported group of amateur skywatchers hoping to catch signals of intelligent life from outside our solar system. The acronym SETI was coined in the early 1960's to describe the activities of a handful of radio astronomers who were seeking evidence of the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Richard walks Gear Club Hosts/producers/mixers and engineers John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., The Dream Syndicate) and Stewart Lerman (Patti Smith, St. Vincent, Boardwalk Empire) through the inception of SETI, the how’s and why’s of this galactic search, and one story about a real-life tin foil hat!
“I learned about SETI from a thing called the NASA Project Cyclops report (A Design Study of a System for Detecting Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life) that came out I believe in the 1970’s,” stated Richard Factor. “I found this in the library at Stanford University, where they were just throwing away, or rather giving away these reports. And it's a pretty thick book authored primarily by a very famous astronomer named Frank Drake. It explained that it is actually technically feasible, not just possible, but feasible to transmit signals, interstellar light years, literally. And with a big enough antenna with enough power, with a good enough receiver, if somebody is sending us signals, we could hear them. And of course it takes hundreds of pages to explain this, but it's not whimsical. It's not hypothetical. At one point, this might have been dismissed as a laughing stock, but today it's taken seriously by both professional and amateur researchers around the world!”
Gear Club Podcast Episode #78, Richard Factor: Ready, SETI, Go explores the formation of the SETI League and the ongoing Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. It can be found, along with the ever-expanding catalog of timeless interviews with leading artists, engineers, producers and studio pros that have drawn 50,000 subscribers, at gear-club.net.