University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Intelligent Life, is it out there?

SETI Institute Leader Concludes Lecture Series Bringing To UCR Pioneers in the Search for Life in the Universe

Presentations Part of Freshman Seminar Course Taught by Chancellor France A. Córdova

(February 25, 2005)

Frank Drake

Frank Drake

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's senior scientist and Trustee Frank Drake will give a free public lecture at the University of California, Riverside on Friday, March 4, as part of the freshman seminar course “Life Beyond Earth?” taught by Chancellor France A. Córdova.

Drake’s lecture, titled “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life,” is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the International Lounge of the University Commons. Parking for the lectures will be available on campus in Lot 19 for $2 per vehicle, payable to the parking attendant on duty. For further details, call Kathy Barton at (951) 827-5304.

The presentations began Feb. 4 with Leslie Orgel, senior fellow and research professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and continued Feb. 18 with Kevin Grazier, the investigation scientist and science-planning engineer for the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. The series concludes with Drake, who is also an emeritus professor and former dean at UC Santa Cruz.

The lecture series, titled “The Search for Life in the Universe: Science Pioneers,” is part of the freshman seminar course taught this quarter by Córdova, a nationally recognized astrophysicist who served as a professor and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara and as chief scientist at NASA before arriving at UCR in 2002. Her course “Life Beyond Earth?” explores the multidisciplinary approaches that scientists are taking to address one of humankind's most fundamental questions.

The course, one of 16 “freshman discovery seminars” offered this quarter, is designed to involve freshmen in a highly interactive classroom experience led by senior faculty and to expose them to new fields of study. The courses let students get to know professors who may become future research mentors.

Students enrolled in Córdova's course will introduce the speakers and moderate a question-and-answer session to follow each presentation.

Drake serves on the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute, a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1984, which today employs more than 100 scientists, educators and support staff to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

In 1960, he conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence as part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, headquartered in Charlottesville, Va. Later, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Drake was a professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and dean of natural sciences at UC Santa Cruz, from 1984 to 1988.

At the National Academy of Sciences, Drake chaired the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council from 1989 to 1992. He also served as President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He was a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University from 1964 to 1984 and served as the Director of the Arecibo Observatory.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links