Profile: Stephen Franks


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Personal background
Born in Bristol, England, now living in Leeds (still England!). Hobbies include electronics: but where have all the electronics enthusiasts gone over the last few years? There used to be loads of shops catering for us, now there are just a very few.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Yes I think extraterrestrial life exists. Probably intelligent, too, in a form that we would recognise as such. I don't see much danger in any likely form of contact, certainly from radio messages. If we find a signal then there is much to learn. If not then we know how rare intelligence is, and have reason to act more sensibly towards our own world.

I think we should broadcast a signal, if only something very simple.

I worry a little about recognising a signal should we receive it. The more information is encoded, the more like random noise the signal becomes. After all, we already routinely send signals below the local noise floor using spread spectrum techniques. I have to trust the good people at Seti@Home to know more than I do about these things (which is pretty certain!).

I run it because if a result should be found then it will be pretty amazing; if not then it is still amazing. And there are spin-off benefits, such as working towards the "computing grid" that seems to be talked about at the moment. Seti@Home is invariably quoted as the inspiration for many projects. And, of course, it costs me nothing.
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