Around Cal

Berkeley Magazine, Summer 1999


What eventually will be the world's largest telescope devoted mainly to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is being built by Berkeley professors and scientists from the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. An array of 500 to 1,000 inexpensive, backyard-style antennas will be assembled, most likely at Berkeley's Hat Creek Observatory near Mount Lassen, to listen for signs of intelligent life. Together, the scopes will provide a collecting area of 10,000 square meters.

Another "first" related to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI): a new academic chair at Berkeley, the first ever reserved for an astronomer involved in the search. Held by William "Jack" Welch, former director of UC Berkeley's Radio Astronomy Laboratory, the chair will support, in perpetuity, SETI research at Berkeley. According to the proposal for the chair approved by the UC Regents, it also will serve to enhance the field's status as "an area of serious scientific inquiry."

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