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Optical SETI Comes of Age

IEEE Columbus Chapter Talk
May 6, 2002


Dr. Stuart A. Kingsley
Director, The Columbus Optical SETI Observatory


Venue: Columbus State Community College

Date: May 6, 2002

Time: 7 - 8 PM



This talk deals primarily with the superiority of free-space interstellar optical (laser) beamed communications over its
microwave counterpart.  The advantage that free-space laser communications has over microwaves is demonstrated with respect to both future interstellar communications with our deep space probes and for SETI-type interstellar communications.

The Columbus Optical SETI Observatory is the world's first dedicated Optical SETI Observatory (www.coseti.org).  The optical approach to searching for ETI technologies touches on a subject which for various reasons had not been accepted by the majority of the SETI community till 1998.  Stuart Kingsley has been investigating and promoting this subject since 1990.  In the early '90s, the promotion of the optical search for extraterrestrial intelligence (OSETI) was supported by a bulletin board.  Since 1995, the world wide web  has assumed this role.  In 1993, 1996 and 2001, Dr. Kingsley arranged and chaired the first three international conferences on Optical SETI for the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).  In 1998, after over a quarter of a century of opposition to OSETI, main stream SETI organizations, such as the SETI Institute and The Planetary Society, have started their own Optical SETI research.  It is expected that by 2010, most SETI investigations will involve attempts to detect visible or infrared laser signals, rather than microwave signals.  These laser signals may be of the continuous wave type or pulsed.  Today, the dominant rationale for OSETI involves the search for pulsed laser attention-getting beacon signals of about 1 nanosecond duration.  These signals may be detected using PMTs or solid-state single photon counting systems.



Stuart A. Kingsley was born in London, England on May 15, 1948.   He received a B.Sc. Honors and Ph.D. in Electronic and Electrical  Engineering from The City University, London, England, and University College London, England, in 1972 and 1984, respectively.  Stuart was awarded the prestigious British Rank Prize for Optoelectronics in 1984 for his contributions to the field of fiber optic sensing.  He arrived in the states in 1981, and went to work for Battelle Columbus Division as a Principal Research Scientist, becoming a Senior Research Scientist in 1985.  He left Battelle in 1987 and established his own photonics consultancy business, Fiberdyne Optoelectronics.  Since 1992 he has been the VP for Engineering at SRICO, Inc., a small photonics company specializing in lithium niobate intensity modulators for communications, electric field/voltage sensing, and physiological sensing systems.

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