Little Green Men

We've been listening for aliens for some time now. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is conducted by various privately funded organisations (the US Government having pulled out of the area some years ago). The SETI at Home initiative enlists spare processing time on millions of home computers via the Internet, processing signal data recorded by radio telescopes.

Are We Alone Are We Alone?

So far SETI has not yielded any positive results, though astronomers are still trying.  In the meantime, the people at the SETI institute conduct public outreach and education campaigns. One of their efforts is the stellar podcast Are We Alone, hosted by astronomer Seth Shostak and producer Molly Bentley.

Seth and Molly have set themselves a wide scientific brief. Sometimes they deal with issues directly related to the possibility of and development of life elsewhere, and the difficulties involved with detection and communication, while other episodes cover skepticism, science education and the scientific method.  Practising scientists are interviewed, including Nobel laureates and other luminaries.

Both presenters possess an attractive lightness of touch. Humour is a consistent and successful feature of the show, with Molly usually playing the straight woman to Seth's joker. The tone is approachable, non-elitist and beneath the constant stream of jokes, skits and nutty voice-overs, passionate about science and the possibilities of life.