Profile: Brad C. Johnson

Personal background
In the first part of my life I grew up in Wisconsin in a very rural area. I focused on music, went to THE University as a performance major on the trumpet and was a professional musician. In my spare time I played tennis, basketball (a lot), and dated lots of the Arts, of course.

In the second part of my life, I bowed to THE Man and decided to make money so I moved to the East coast, got a few degrees in Computer Science, and worked at a bunch of cool computer places (well they were THEN) -- Bell Laboratories, Data General, Digital Equipment, and the Open Software Foundation -- before helping to start a consulting firm called SystemExperts. In my spare time I play golf, run, try to be a good father and husband, and have fun with friends!

Only one thing is consistent in both lives: my mother. She is the inspiration of and giver of my life (no, I'm not a momma's boy! ;-), she gave me the spirit to think big, to consider other ways of looking at things, and to think outside the box...hence my involvement with SETI.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I do think that there is extraterrestrial life, it just seems so hard to fathom that there isn’t. There are two pictures, in particular, that humble me and sometimes frighten me because of the vastness of what’s depicted: the Hubble deep sky photograph (you know, the picture of thousands of galaxies – GALAXIES – in an area of our sky that was expected to be empty) and the National Geographic “you are here” depiction (a dot is Earth, which is a dot in the Milky way, which is a dot, etc. etc.). The vastness humbles me, scares me, and convinces me there has to be more.

I have always thought the question “When will we discover other life?” as truly human. We won’t discover other life; they will discover us. Earth looks as uninhabitable as many other orbs from only a short distance away (in cosmic terms). To discover that we are here will take technology we probably won’t be able to imagine for a very long time.

I do believe, however, that we should do whatever we can to help “them” find us, and so yes we should be sending a beacon. Math, of course, may turn out not to be THE common denominator, but it’s the best thing we have imagined so far.

I have SETI running on four systems. I have run about 2,000 units so far and always seem to be in about 75,000th place. But I do what I can as I think it’s important and the concept of using spare cycles is awesome.

Can we please use some spare cycles to cure diabetes? I would appreciate it; my daughter would appreciate it even more.
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SETI@home and Astropulse are funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and donations from SETI@home volunteers. AstroPulse is funded in part by the NSF through grant AST-0307956.