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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Seth Shostak Quotes

Seth Shostak
(20 Jul 1943 - )

American astronomer who promotes the active search for extra-terrestrial life in the universe by examining the signals received by radio telescopes. He is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) which is based in Mountain view, California, U.S.A.

Science Quotes by Seth Shostak (5 quotes)

The search [for extra-terrestrial life] is a failure until that moment when it suddenly becomes a success.
— Seth Shostak
Quoted in 'Do Aliens Exist in the Milky Way', PBS web page for WGBH Nova, 'Origins.'
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Failure (161)  |  Life (1799)  |  Moment (254)  |  Search (162)  |  Success (303)  |  Suddenly (88)  |  Terrestrial (61)

There is a point of view among astronomical researchers that is generally referred to as the Principle of Mediocrity. ... If the Sun and its retinue of worlds is only one system among many, then many other systems will be like ours: home to life. Indeed, to the extent that this is true, we should be prepared for the possibility that, even in the Milky Way galaxy, billions of planets may be carpeted by the dirty, nasty business known as life.
— Seth Shostak
Quoted in 'Do Aliens Exist in the Milky Way', PBS web page for WGBH Nova, 'Origins.'
Science quotes on:  |  Billion (96)  |  Business (149)  |  Carpet (3)  |  Dirty (17)  |  Extent (139)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Galaxy (51)  |  Home (170)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Known (454)  |  Life (1799)  |  Mediocrity (8)  |  Milky Way (26)  |  Nasty (7)  |  Other (2236)  |  Planet (357)  |  Point (580)  |  Point Of View (82)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Principle (510)  |  Researcher (33)  |  Retinue (3)  |  Sun (387)  |  System (537)  |  View (488)  |  Way (1216)  |  Will (2354)  |  World (1778)

[O]ne might ask why, in a galaxy of a few hundred billion stars, the aliens are so intent on coming to Earth at all. It would be as if every vertebrate in North America somehow felt drawn to a particular house in Peoria, Illinois. Are we really that interesting?
— Seth Shostak
Quoted in 'Do Aliens Exist in the Milky Way', PBS web page for WGBH Nova, 'Origins.'
Science quotes on:  |  Alien (34)  |  All (4107)  |  America (127)  |  Ask (411)  |  Billion (96)  |  Come (4)  |  Coming (114)  |  Earth (998)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Galaxy (51)  |  Global Warming (27)  |  House (140)  |  Hundred (228)  |  Intention (46)  |  Interest (386)  |  Interesting (153)  |  North America (5)  |  Particular (76)  |  Somehow (48)  |  Star (430)  |  Stars (304)  |  Vertebrate (20)  |  Why (491)

[T]here are some common animal behaviors that seem to favor the development of intelligence, behaviors that might lead to brainy beasts on many worlds. Social interaction is one of them. If you're an animal that hangs out with others, then there's clearly an advantage in being smart enough to work out the intentions of the guy sitting next to you (before he takes your mate or your meal). And if you're clever enough to outwit the other members of your social circle, you'll probably have enhanced opportunity to breed..., thus passing on your superior intelligence. ... Nature—whether on our planet or some alien world—will stumble into increased IQ sooner or later.
— Seth Shostak
Seth Shostak, Alex Barnett, Cosmic Company: the Search for Life in the Universe (2003), 62 & 67.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (135)  |  Alien (34)  |  Animal (617)  |  Animal Behavior (10)  |  Beast (55)  |  Behavior (86)  |  Being (1278)  |  Brain (270)  |  Breeding (21)  |  Circle (110)  |  Clever (38)  |  Common (436)  |  Development (424)  |  Enhancement (5)  |  Enough (341)  |  Favor (64)  |  Hang (45)  |  Intelligence (213)  |  Intention (46)  |  Interaction (46)  |  IQ (5)  |  Lead (385)  |  Mate (6)  |  Meal (18)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Next (236)  |  Opportunity (87)  |  Other (2236)  |  Outwit (6)  |  Passing (76)  |  Planet (357)  |  Sitting (44)  |  Smart (26)  |  Social (252)  |  Society (325)  |  Stumble (19)  |  Superior (82)  |  Will (2354)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1778)

[T]here is little chance that aliens from two societies anywhere in the Galaxy will be culturally close enough to really 'get along.' This is something to ponder as you watch the famous cantina scene in Star Wars. ... Does this make sense, given the overwhelmingly likely situation that galactic civilizations differ in their level of evolutionary development by thousands or millions of years? Would you share drinks with a trilobite, an ourang-outang, or a saber-toothed tiger? Or would you just arrange to have a few specimens stuffed and carted off to the local museum?
— Seth Shostak
Quoted in 'Do Aliens Exist in the Milky Way', PBS web page for WGBH Nova, 'Origins.'
Science quotes on:  |  Alien (34)  |  Arrange (30)  |  Chance (239)  |  Civilization (206)  |  Cooperation (32)  |  Culture (143)  |  Development (424)  |  Differ (85)  |  Drink (53)  |  Enough (341)  |  Evolution (593)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Galactic (6)  |  Galaxy (51)  |  Little (708)  |  Museum (31)  |  Overwhelming (30)  |  Ponder (14)  |  Scene (36)  |  Sense (770)  |  Share (75)  |  Situation (113)  |  Society (325)  |  Something (719)  |  Specimen (28)  |  Star (430)  |  Star Wars (2)  |  Stuff (21)  |  Taxidermy (2)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Tooth (29)  |  Trilobite (6)  |  Two (937)  |  War (226)  |  Watch (109)  |  Will (2354)  |  Year (932)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by: Albert Einstein Isaac Newton Lord Kelvin Charles Darwin Srinivasa Ramanujan Carl Sagan Florence Nightingale Thomas Edison Aristotle Marie Curie Benjamin Franklin Winston Churchill Galileo Galilei Sigmund Freud Robert Bunsen Louis Pasteur Theodore Roosevelt Abraham Lincoln Ronald Reagan Leonardo DaVinci Michio Kaku Karl Popper Johann Goethe Robert Oppenheimer Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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