The First Penn State SETI Symposium

Presented by the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center

July 6–9, 2020
Penn State University
The Penn Stater Conference Center, State College, PA

Scientific Program

The symposium will be a forum for:

    • Announcements of new results in the field, especially those representing data-driven progress
    • Researchers new to the field to get a survey of the state of the art
    • Students and other junior researchers to present their research and interact with others in the field
    • Community building
    • Breakout sessions where participants can
      • learn to use new data sets or software tools
      • attend reviews or short courses on parts of SETI
      • work intensely with other practitioners on particular problems or tasks in the field

The symposium will take an ecumenical view of SETI as the search for technosignatures, and as a subfield of astrobiology. It will encompass technosignatures across and beyond the electromagnetic spectrum, including (but not limited to) radio, microwave, optical, and NIR signals compressed in the time and frequency domains; multimessenger astronomy; megastructures in transit and thermal emission; and solar system SETI.

The symposium will lean heavily towards observational programs that can detect or put quantitative upper limits on technosignatures, and theoretical work in direct support of such programs such as calculations of relative and absolute figures of merit of past and current programs, or target selection and observation strategy work. Abstracts on putting current efforts in a historical context, interfaces with the social sciences, the funding and cultural landscape of SETI, and curricular and academic dimensions of the field are also welcome.

Registrants are welcome to submit multiple abstracts, although if poster space becomes an issue the SOC may need to limit attendees to one science poster each.

Contributed Talks

Some contributed abstracts will be offered plenary speaking slots by the SOC, who will favor:

    • Newly published research, especially results announced for the first time at the symposium
    • Description of data-driven search programs (including instrumentation, algorithmic development, and quantitative predictions from theory)
    • New quantitative upper limits on a technosignature
    • Presentations by junior researchers, especially students
Posters

Most abstracts not selected for talks will be offered weeklong poster slots. Poster presenters will be offered very short (~1 minute) plenary speaking slots to advertise their poster.

Breakout Sessions

In addition to a scientific abstract, registrants may propose to lead afternoon breakout sessions on specialized topics to take advantage of the concentration of specialists at the symposium. Breakout sessions may span multiple conference days. The SOC will favor breakout sessions that emphasize data-driven approaches to SETI or training.

Potential breakout session formats include workshops (producing a useful research product), hack sessions, or tutorials.

Other Meetings and Opportunities

Registrants are encouraged to submit abstracts for additional posters to advertise opportunities in the field, such as future SETI-related meetings, job openings, workshops, and funding opportunities.