Notice: This is an archived and unmaintained page. For current information, please browse

2008 Annual Science Report

SETI Institute Reporting  |  JUL 2007 – JUN 2008

"Are We Alone?" Weekly Science Radio Show

Project Summary

Production and distribution of a weekly, one-hour radio program whose subject matter is rooted in the discipline of astrobiology. The show consists of interviews with practicing scientists, reporters, and engineers, as well as other elements designed to make the program appealing to a wide range of the public, both domestic and international. Once monthly, a special edition of the show is devoted to skepticism: taking on pseudo-science and contrasting it with the workings of research.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Seth Shostak & Molly Bentley -“Are We Alone?” weekly science radio show. The improvement in show quality, both technical and in terms of presentation and content, continues apace. A typical, one-hour program features interviews with three or four researchers, writers, or reporters, a skit, music, and banter between Shostak and Bentley commenting on the subject matter.

Some of the important changes in the past year include hiring a part-time assistant producer, Gary Niederhoff (this hire was made possible by a NASA grant). Niederhoff brings to the show not only a high level of expertise, but also considerable “on-mic” talent.

Another recent improvement has been to broaden the scope of the show by having an expanded web presence, ably constructed and maintained by Barbara Vance, as well as a blog dedicated to the program. The show is also represented on Facebook, My Space, Digg and other social networking sites. Participants in Second Life can also listen to the show in a specially constructed setting.

Some of the recent guests include:

Paul Davies Neil de Grasse Tyson Aubrey de Grey
David Quammen Alex Filippenko Craig Venter
Owen Gingrich Sam Harris Vernor Vinge
Patricia Churchland Richard Dawkins Ray Kurzweil
Phil Plait Neil Shubin Marvin Minsky
Steve Aquyres Max Tegmark Susan Clancy
Mary Roach Hans Moravec Susan Jacoby
Nina Jablonski Timothy Ferris Janice Bishop

Distribution on the internet has changed in the past year, as the weekly download traffic was substantially slowing the SETI Institute servers. Consequently, the show files are now hosted on the servers of Sun Microsystems, thanks to a no-cost arrangement with that company. Additionally, approximately six PBS stations nationwide are now broadcasting the show. This number is expected to grow in the next six months, thanks to active marketing of the program.

A special NASA grant via Harvard University will sponsor thematic programs on “Are We Alone?” for the 2009International Year of Astronomy.

The show is hosted by P.I. Seth Shostak (SETI Institute) and co-hosted and produced by Molly Bentley.

Link to S. Shostak radio shows made with NAI funding:

Link to 50+ articles written by S. Shostak for since January 2005: – enter search word Shostak