Seth Shostak: more than just la dolce vita

Seth Shostak is Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.

Science is, very simply, our future.

If someone asks me what differentiates Homo sapiens from the million other species on this planet, the answer is “not much”. We share about 90 percent of our DNA with everything you’ll find at the local zoo. However, we don’t share an interest in music, literature, theology or art. We have creative and aesthetic talents that are singular - on this world, at least.

That’s nice, and it makes life both pleasant and meaningful. But alone among human endeavors, only science can give us a future. Only science can offer an understanding of the cosmos with which we can innoculate ourselves against destruction, either by our own hand or as the consequence of some external calamity.

Most people think of science as helping to make the good life possible. It surely does that. But science can gift us with more than just la dolce vita. It can transform an accident of evolution on a small, rocky world into a significant fact of the universe.


  1. Posted January 30, 2009 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    "Science is, very simply, our future."

    I *wish* I had thought of this line. :)

  2. Posted August 22, 2010 at 6:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Mr. Shostak, my name is Mr. Joseph L Powell
    Im presently living Greenville NC. Im from a big christian family. My Dad was a minister. I have 7brothers and 2 sisters. Im sort of the black sheep in the family. I love science but I dont talk about it too much because it causes a lot of heated collars. Please bare with me as I attempt to make this as simple and short as possible. I have sleep paralyses. Everyone in my family has had episoles of it but Im the only one im my family that still has it consistantly. Your body is in REM but you are awoke. It is very very scary. I always panic and struggle to brake out of it. I feel i have too or im almost sure im gonna die. I have this 2 to 3 times a week. For about 50years. 2 years ago (the only time i didnt fight it)I was standing on top of the highest peek on the moon. I had a metal rod in my hands. The rod was 186,000 miles long. I was talking to Carl Sagan. I told Carl that if I spin the rod 1 time in 1 second the tips of the rod should be traveling 3x the speed of light. Sir this seems way too simple. I hoping you could show me where my problem is.

    Youre the Greatest. Thanks
    Powell, Joseph L
    US. Army retired

  3. Kaitlyn Shostak
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 7:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello Mr. Shostak!
    I am doing research for a school project about family history.
    Do you think you might be related to me? I mean we have the same last names. I don't know if you have any family in Montana... Let me know if you know of any ways we could figure out if we are or not. Thank you!

Post a Comment