University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, is an institution that has played a prominent role, over several decades, in the development of both astrobiology and SETI. It was here, in the 1960s, that Melvin Calvin carried out important work in prebiotic evolution. Earlier still, in the mid-1950s, important research and discussions on the likelihood and habitability of extrasolar planets took place at Berkeley involving Otto Struve, Su-Shu Huang, and Ronald Bracewell. Charles Townes, inventor of the maser, has long supported the idea that intelligent races might use lasers for interstellar communication and is presently engaged in a search for artificial laser signals. The University's Leuschner Observatory has been used in an effort to detect Dyson spheres, while Berkeley's long-running SERENDIP program has employed some of the world's largest radio telescopes, including the Arecibo radio telescope. Leading SETI investigators, including Jill Tarter and William ("Jack") Welch, are on Berkeley's faculty, as were Geoffrey Marcy and R. Paul Butler, who figured prominently in the search for exoplanets. In the near future, the University's Radio Astronomy Laboratory will embark on a joint effort with the SETI Institute to build the world's most powerful instrument dedicated primarily to the search for intelligent signals: the Allen Telescope Array.