Return to - IEEE Southeastern Michigan EMC Society Homepage

Meeting Notice

The Southeastern Michigan IEEE EMC Society presents:

SonATA: SETI on the Allen Telescope Array

Click Here for 5 MB Powerpoint Presentation

Presented by: Peter Backus

Date: June 15, 2005

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Fairlane Campus - U of M Dearborn (Map Code FCN)

University of Michigan
School of Management
Fairlane Center North - Room 126
19000 Hubbard Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Driving Directions


Please pre-register for this free event online at: then select "June" Registration Deadline: Noon on the day prior to the event.


Schedule of Events 
5:30  6:00 Pizza and Refreshments by Carter McCormick & Pierce
6:00  7:00 Technical Presentation
The Chapter Presentation is a FREE event.  IEEE Non-Members Welcome!

To be added or removed from the IEEE EMC e-mailing list, send an email to with ADD or REMOVE in subject line.

The IEEE Southeastern Michigan EMC Homepage is



Are we alone? This question has been pondered since ancient times. In 1960, the first Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project examined in succession, two nearby stars at a few frequencies. Modern technology has expanded our search capability by more than 1015 . That same technology has also increased the challenge of searching for interstellar signals by creating a cacophony of terrestrial signals. New computer systems and an innovative telescope will allow us to search more stars with excellent sensitivity, and relative immunity to radio frequency interference, than any previous SETI project. In SonATA, a typical observation will use three 110-meter diameter virtual telescopes, each listening to a star in more than 100 million simultaneous channels.

Dr. Peter R. Backus


Peter R. Backus received a B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974, and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts in 1981. His graduate and post-doctoral research studied the evolution and emission mechanism of pulsars. In 1982, he began working with NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Office as a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow, and in 1985, joined the newly-formed SETI Institute. He became Co-Principal Investigator on a cooperative agreement with NASA in 1988, leading the research and development of both software and hardware for the NASA SETI Program.

After the termination of NASA's SETI Program in 1993, Dr. Backus held several management roles in Project Phoenix, the privately-funded continuation of the NASA program. From 1995 through March 2004, he conducted SETI observations with his Project Phoenix colleagues in Australia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. He is now planning for operations at the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), currently under construction in northern California. As part of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, he is developing a list of about one million "target" stars for SETI on the ATA.


The IEEE Southeastern Michigan EMC Homepage is