archive: SETI Lay Response to Recent Discussion

SETI Lay Response to Recent Discussion

willcox@voicenet.com
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 12:27:22 +0600

Fellow collaborators in amateur SETI,

The recent discussions on the open SETI list has brought much to mind ;-)
It has been fascinating to hear some of the debate of the
professionals in the related fields! I had some idea of the issues, mostly
to determine my approach to the problems we are all aware of. Sensitivity and
integration time have been my greatest concern, and now RFI as I see more
data.
I have enjoyed this project immensely! I recommend it to anyone.
I had not appreciated before how happy I am to be an amateur in this field!
I have reflected on the peculiar nature of the SETI premise, and
as a result am happy to labor to perfect an instrument of badly limited
sensitivity. As an analogy it would be indefensible to do Xray diffraction
studies
with a Geiger-Mueller tube, but not to listen to space with a somewhat deaf
receiver:
Question, What energies do we expect? Insert answer here_____.
Years ago I worked for months on a project to develop an
instrument to detect hydroxyl radicals with a photomultiplier using a
photon producing enzyme.
For weeks we all saw a quenching effect, the reverse of the prevailing
models of the chemical kinetics. To look into this backwards result,
an order of magnitude more reproducible than the expected photon
production, was not appropriate for our grant, just mention in the papers. We
investigated it in our own time, and as a result can detect cancers beyond the
resolution of radiological techniques. The method is a success.
We in the SETI League are on our own time.
Paul and other professionals are exploring the obvious limitations of our
instruments, and considering the next generation approaches, as are we all.
Nuff said.

John Willcox
40 00 00 N
75 30 30 W

Project Argus Observatory FN20fa