WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE CONTACT 2014 KEYNOTE SPEAKER
CONTACT 2012 Keynote Speaker:
Frank Drake, Chairman Emeritus of the Seti Institute.
Frank Drake pioneered the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence, co-designed the Pioneer spacecraft plaque, and authored the Drake Equation.
Frank, who conducted the first modern SETI experiment in 1960, continues his life-long interest in the detection of extraterrestrial sentient life. He participates in an on-going search for optical signals of intelligent origin, carried out with colleagues from Lick Observatory and the University of California at Berkeley, using the 40-inch Nickel telescope at Lick.
He continues to investigate radio telescope designs that optimize the chances of success for SETI. (He proposed the plan used in the design of the Allen Telescope Array, based on some of his work of more than forty years ago.) He is also interested in the possibility that the very numerous red dwarf stars, stars that are much less bright than the Sun, might host habitable planets. In this regard, he has noted that the behavior of various objects in our own solar system -- in particular the resonances between their rotation and orbital periods -- when applied to some of the newly discovered extrasolar planets, strongly suggests that most planets orbiting red dwarfs will not keep one face towards their star, and thus are more likely to be habitable. If this is proven correct, it will increase by almost ten times the probable number of habitable planets in the Milky Way.
Drake is currently Emeritus Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also served as Dean of Natural Sciences (1984-88). He serves on the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute.
Dr. Drake currently plans on speaking about optical SETI, gravitational lens telescopes, and the current status of radio SETI.