Space Mastery


Senior Astronomer at SETI Institute.

Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and the Director of the Institute’s Center for SETI Research.

He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately 60 papers in professional journals. During more than a decade, he worked at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, in Groningen, The Netherlands, using the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope. He also founded and ran a company producing computer animation for TV.

Seth has written nearly 500 popular magazine and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film, and television. He lectures on astronomy and other subjects at various academic venues, and gives approximately 60 talks annually at both educational and corporate institutions. Seth has been a Distinguished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was also Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Committee for a decade.

Frequently interviewed for radio and TV, Seth has been seen or heard on Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, History Channel, the BBC, “Nightline,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “Coast to Coast AM,” NPR, CNN News, and National Geographic Television. He is the host of a one-hour weekly radio program on astrobiology entitled “Big Picture Science.”

Seth has edited and contributed to nearly a dozen books. His first popular tome, Sharing the Universe: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life (Berkeley Hills Books), appeared in March 1998, followed by Cosmic Company (Cambridge University Press) in 2002. He has also co-authored an astrobiology text, Life in the Universe (Pearson), and his latest trade book is Confessions of an Alien Hunter (National Geographic). In 2004, he won the Klumpke-Roberts Award for the popularization of astronomy.