2013 Starship Congress Speaker Announcement – Dr. James Benford “Shouting to the Galaxy: The METI Debate”

2013 Starship Congress Speaker Announcement – Dr. James Benford “Shouting to the Galaxy: The METI Debate”

In addition to his presentation on “Sail Ships”, physicist Dr. James Benford has been announced as a speaker for a second talk during Icarus Interstellar’s 2013 Starship Congress:  Shouting to the Galaxy: The METI Debate

Dr. Benford is the President of Lafayette, California-based Microwave Sciences, Inc., which provides contracting and consulting services in High Power Microwaves.  His interests include high power microwave systems from conceptual designs to hardware, microwave source physics, electromagnetic power beaming for space propulsion, and experimental intense particle beams. 

Dr. Benford earned his Ph.D in Physics at the University of California San Diego.  He is an IEEE Fellow and an EMP Fellow and has taught 25 courses in High Power Microwaves in 9 countries.  He has written seven books, and in 2007 co-authored High Power Microwaves, 2nd Edition, a textbook now in general use. In 2013, he co-edited Starship Century, dealing with the prospect of star travel, an anthology of fact & fiction. 

Abstract for Dr. Benford’s talk Shouting to the Galaxy: The METI Debate

Messaging to Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (METI) is an issue dividing those who want to announce our presence to the cosmos by broadcasting to the nearer stars and those who advocate international consultations on societal risk of such transmissions. METI transmissions to date are faint and very unlikely to be detected.  Leakage from Earth, such as television and radar, has thus far been undetectable for Earth-scale receiver systems.  SETI has had null results, although those efforts have been small relative to the scale of the task and will take a long time to be completed. Both sides of the METI debate use the Fermi Paradox. The increasing plausibility of interstellar travel adds complications. Supporters of METI refute the idea of danger and think that such limitations will be ineffective. Critics of METI feel we must reflect on the full range of possible outcomes and that, from our historical record, some prudence is in order.