Profile: Digger

Personal background

My name is Jim, and I'm a 42 year-old archaeologist from Montana, currently working on my Master's Degree in GIS/Cartography. I've been with SETI@home off and on since 1999, and more recently Einstein@home for about a year now. Summers of fieldwork and travel have at times kept me away from my distributed computing endeavors, but nonetheless I keep trodding along with my little ol' single computer and enjoy making what contribution I can.

Like many folks I imagine, my interest in extra-terrestrial life was sparked at a young age by classic television sci-fi like Star Trek and (yes I'm actually going to say it), Lost in Space. Watching LIS on video now, I can't imagine how that series scared the crap out of me as a kid! I have to admit I enjoy it every bit as much now, but for very different reasons. :)

My dad was a mathematician and a HAM radio operator and was a huge influence on my fascination with science. We spent many hours together building those old Heathkit radios and I was always so excited when it was time to test them out and those old tubes started to light up. To think we could actually communicate with people from all over the world... that was a pretty big deal back then to a nine year-old. I imagine it still is (at least I hope so).

Dad passed away in his early fifties not long after buying our first home computer, a Commodore 64. I know he would have been thrilled with how far computers have come since the early 80's, and if he were alive today I know we would both spend many hours together working on projects just like this one. He'd have loved SETI@home as well as Einstein, and would have been one of the first to sign-up for both. He's still a big influence on my life to this day.

I guess that's all for now... I'll call this a work in
progress and add to it as time goes by.

Thanks for taking a peek,

Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Sure ET exists!

Like everyone else, I'm not sure when or how we'll find them, but as in all things, the journey is half the fun and I'm having a great time with this project. The anticipation alone is enough to keep me crunching. I'm one of those dorks who still turns on the SETI@home screensaver from time to time and thinks about how cool this all is.

I sometimes wonder if we'll find ET even sooner and more directly than we've ever thought about. We'll all be crunching along happily one day on our work units, and without warning some piece of alien space garbage will come crashing through our solar system, or some such thing. We still have such a limited view of what's actually out there in the universe, just about anything's possible.

That's what keeps ME going at this, anyway. The not-knowing is all part of the fun. It could be 200 years from now, or it could be tomorrow.

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