Profile: John Neale


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Personal background
I am originally from Cape Town in South Africa, but I have lived and worked in Johannesburg for 26 years. I am 51 years old (in 2014), and I am a chemical engineer involved in biohydrometallurgical research and development.

I have a family comprising my wife and two young children, aged 11 and 10.

My other interests are road running, and the collecting, tasting and drinking of wine. I am an active runner, and I'm the Club Captain of Randburg Harriers Running Club. I'm a wine lover, and fortunate to live in a wine-producing country. I enjoy local wines, but I've studied and tasted wine extensively, and I enjoy a wide variety of foreign wines too.

I am also very interested in sport in general, and I follow athletics, football, cricket, rugby, golf, swimming, cycling and tennis.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I reckon they're out there, in numbers! Common sense, or at least my own sense, common or otherwise, tells me that intelligent life must have evolved elsewhere in the universe.

Even if intelligent life does exist somewhere, it may take a long time to detect their presence and, indeed, we may never do so, but we're an inquisitive species - it's in our nature to search and to explore. Imagine if the likes of Vasco da Gama, Bartholomew Dias, Captain James Cook, Robert F. Scott, Edmund Hillary, Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Leif Eriksen, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Neil Armstrong had stayed at home!

Of course, if we do detect them, the next challenge will be to contact them, which will ignite the debate on whether we should even try to.

I run SETI@home because it's a way of contributing to science, and because if and when we do detect the presence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, I want to have been an active participant in the project that started the process. Exploration and discovery are part of human development and progression. Participation in this project plays a part in defining my own humanity.
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