View this email in your browser
April 8, 2018
Dear friends,

The third edition of the UCLA SETI course is off to a good start.  There are approximately 20 students in the course with a good mix of backgrounds as in previous years: physics, astrophysics, engineering, applied math, and computer science.  Paul Pinchuk, a graduate student in physics who took the course last year, has volunteered to be our teaching assistant.  The students first learned about radio astronomy fundamentals and celestial coordinate systems, and now they have started using the Astropy Python library to compute quantities relevant to our observing session on the Green Bank Telescope.
Students enrolled in the UCLA SETI course use the excellent Astropy Python library to design an observing program for the Green Bank Telescope.
In my last newsletter, I mentioned the committee on "Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe" formed by the US National Academies.  When I discovered the provisional composition of the committee, I became concerned that it lacked both scientific balance and radio SETI expertise.  The National Academies use a formal comment period in order to consider concerns about the composition of committees, as explained on their website: "It is through this process [of reviewing formal comments on the provisional appointments to a committee] that we determine whether the committee contains the requisite expertise to address its task and whether the points of views of individual members are adequately balanced such that the committee as a whole can address its charge objectively."  I wrote a letter to the Committee Chair expressing my concerns, which the following SETI experts co-signed: James Cordes, Frank Drake, Michael Garrett, Paul Horowitz, Eric Korpela, Di Li, Claudio Maccone, Andrew Siemion, Dan Werthimer, S. Pete Worden, and Jason Wright.  So far, we have not received a response to our letter.

Finally, I am happy to report that our article about the search for technosignatures has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.  The anonymous reviewer suggested that we expand the section on the detectability of planetary radar signals, which was an interesting exercise.  The reviewer also suggested discussing the signal losses that we experience by digitizing the radiometer signal with two bits.  These losses are small enough (<12%) that they are often overlooked in SETI articles, but we were happy to discuss them in the revised version of our article because they do affect sensitivity calculations.

UCLA graduate student Paul Pinchuk and I are preparing our presentations for the July 19 SETI session at the COSPAR meeting in Pasadena, CA.  We are very much looking forward to the meeting.

Warm regards,

Jean-Luc Margot

Copyright © 2018 UCLA SETI Group. All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp