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European Astronomers Honor SETI League Founder
For more information contact: Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Executive Director
(201) 641-1770, or email info_at_setileague_dot_org

Heppenheim, Germany.., September 2003 -- At its triennial Congress, the European Radio Astronomy Club has awarded its highest honor to Richard Factor, the American industrialist who nine years ago founded the nonprofit international SETI League, Inc. Factor, who has served as The SETI League's president since the group's inception, was honored with the European group's DSP-FFT Award for his global vision and leadership in the scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

DSP-FFT stands for Digital Signal Processing (the analysis of scientific data by computers) and Fast Fourier Transform (the primary mathematical tool used by scientists to perform DSP). The award is presented every three years to a person or persons making significant contributions to radio astronomical research. In his professional life, Factor is president of Eventide Inc., an American electronics company that manufactures high-quality DSP equipment for the broadcast industry. One of Eventide's products appeared onscreen as a prop in the Hollywood film "Contact" a few years back.

The European Radio Astronomy Club (ERAC) is a society of over two hundred professional and amateur experimenters, students, teachers and scholars from all over Europe, and beyond, engaged in astronomical research in the radio spectrum. The group has its own radio telescope in Mannheim, Germany, in addition to private observatories built by its members around Europe. ERAC is a SETI League affiliate society, many of its members also belong to The SETI League, and its president, Peter Wright, serves as a SETI League volunteer Regional Coordinator.

SETI League executive director Dr. H. Paul Shuch accepted the award in Factor's behalf at the third triennial European Radio Astronomy Congress, held recently at Heppenheim's Starkenburg Observatory. The award consists of a certificate, and a trophy fashioned out of a Campbell's Tomato Soup tin. "The soup can," explains Shuch, "is evocative of a landmark experiment conducted here in Germany, in which noted digital signal processing experts analyzed computer files corresponding to various acoustical phenomena. They mistook the electronic signature of a boiling kettle of tomato soup for human speech, underscoring the difficulties faced daily by SETI scientists -- difficulties which Richard Factor is helping us to overcome."

SETI scientists seek to determine through microwave and optical measurements whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have been attempting to privatize the research. Experimenters interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, or citizens wishing to help support it, should email to join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the electromagnetic Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Photo Editors Note: a photo of the DSP-FFT Trophy is available for download from

P.S. Tearsheets are always appreciated. Thank you.

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