archive: Re: SETI Fwd: Scientist: Reason for Optimism in ET Search

Re: SETI Fwd: Scientist: Reason for Optimism in ET Search

Dr. H. Paul Shuch ( (no email) )
Sat, 22 Aug 1998 09:45:29 -0400

At 11:30 08/21/1998 -0400, David Ocame quoted Chip Cohen, thus:

>> I knew Barney Oliver; I argued with Barney Oliver; I worked with Barney
>> Oliver;I learned from Barney Oliver.. Barney had the best mind in SETI.
>> Barney is saying that you need large apertures. You--and Paul-- should

I too knew Barney (since 1974), argued with Barney, worked with Barney,
and learned much from him. Yes, he had the best mind in SETI -- in the
1970s and perhaps the 1980s! Late in his life (and with his help and
encouragement), some of Barney's younger colleagues began to surpass him,
which is how it should be. At any rate, toward the end Barney also
reversed his prior opposition to Project Argus, wrote that "perhaps there's
something which amateurs can contribute after all," and served on our
advisory board. The last correspondence I received from Barney, just a
week before his death, proposed some very controversial and unconventional
search strategies. The man was apparently more open to change than his
disciple N1IR is.
And BTW, I too am saying we need a large aperture. I'm just saying it can
be composed of thousands of smaller ones. Isn't this exactly what Barney
said in the Cyclops study? Where I diverge is in suggesting that the
individual elements can be even smaller than 100 meters diameter, can cost
somewhat less than $100 Million apiece (I've adjusted here for inflation
since 1971), and can be built and operated by amateurs. Heretical, I know.
H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D. -- Executive Director, The SETI League, Inc.
433 Liberty Street, PO Box 555, Little Ferry NJ 07643 USA
voice (201) 641-1770; fax (201) 641-1771; URL
email work:; home:
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