AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 10 Astronomy Education: Middle School to College
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[10.04] The Search for Life in the Universe: The Past Through the Future

L. A. Lebofsky (LPL & SO), A. Lebofsky (SES), M. Lebofsky (SSL), N. R. Lebofsky (Retired)

``Are we alone?'' This is a question that has been asked by humans for thousands of years. More than any other topic in science, the search for life in the Universe has captured the imagination. Now, for the first time in history, we are on the verge of answering this question.

The search for life beyond the Earth can be seen as far back as the 17th century writings of Bishops F. Godwin and J. Wilkins and S. Cyrano de Bergerac to the early 20th century's H. G. Wells. From a scientific perspective, this search led to the formulation of the Drake Equation which in turn has led to a number of projects that are searching for signs of intelligent life beyond the Earth, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

SETI@home reaches millions of users, including thousands of K-12 teachers across the nation. We are developing a project that will enhance the SETI@home web site located at UC Berkeley. The project unites the resources of the SETI@home distributed computing community web site, university settings, and informal science learning centers. It will reach approximately 100,000 learners. The goal is to increase public understanding of math and science and to create and strengthen the connections between informal and formal learning communities.

We will present a variety of ways that the Drake Equation and SETI@home can enhance the public and student understanding of the search for life in the Universe, from its roots in literature, to the development (and evolution) of the Drake Equation, to the actual search for life with SETI.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lebofsky@lpl.arizona.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.