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Douglas Vakoch, Ph.D. President of METI–Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, disrupting conventional science as “The Man Who Speaks for Earth.”

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Select Keynotes

  • 01. Embracing Disruption: Science, Psychology, and Innovation
  • 02. Calling the Cosmos: Telling Extraterrestrials We're Here
  • 03. From the Big Bang to Us: Seven Steps to a Sustainable Civilization
  • 04. Aesthetics for Aliens: Art, Music, and Extraterrestrials
  • 05. Morality and the Fabric of the Universe
  • 06. Are We Alone? Commitment and the Search for Life Beyond Earth
  • 07. Stressed out of This World: Lessons from Astronauts in Coping with Major Catastrophes and Daily Hassles
  • 08. Green Tranquility: Staying Sane through Moments in Nature
  • 09. Climate Changes: Facing Reality through Fiction
  • 10. The Power of Listening

Select Book Titles

  • 2018 Literature and Ecofeminism: Intersectional and International Voices
  • 2017 Ecofeminism in Dialogue
  • 2017 Women and Nature?: Beyond Dualism in Gender, Body, and Environment
  • 2015 The Drake Equation: Estimating the Prevalence of Extraterrestrial Life Through the Ages
  • 2014 Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication
  • 2014 Extraterrestrial Altruism: Evolution and Ethics in the Cosmos
  • 2014 Ecopsychology, Phenomenology, and the Environment: The Experience of Nature
  • 2013 Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • 2013 Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life Beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery
  • 2013 On Orbit and Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight
  • 2012 Feminist Ecocriticism: Environment, Women, and Literature
  • 2011 Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI)
  • 2011 Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse
  • 2011 Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective
  • 2011 Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society

As a scientist searching for life in the universe and working to preserve civilization on Planet Earth, Dr. Douglas Vakoch travels between the inner space of the psyche and the outer space of the cosmos. As a leading researcher in both astrobiology and psychology, he provides unique insights into the human significance of the age-old question, “Are we alone?”

Disruption requires the courage to take risks. Drawing on his expertise as a leader, scientist, and psychologist, Dr. Vakoch shows how we can foster a mindset and work environment that lead to technological innovation. After sixteen years as part of Silicon Valley’s SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), he broke away to create METI, the disruptive scientific organization whose namesake activity is Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence—the controversial project that sends powerful, intentional radio signals to nearby stars, in the hope of provoking a response. The New Yorker magazine calls him “The Man Who Speaks for Earth.” In 2017 he led METI’s radio transmission to a nearby star from the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) antenna in Tromsø, Norway, and he eagerly awaits 2042—the first year that humanity could receive a reply.

To sustain interstellar messaging projects across the generations, Dr. Vakoch explores the human dimensions of global warming and other threats to the long-term survival of civilizations, showing we can embrace both exploration and human welfare at the same time. He emphasizes the vital importance of engaging with nature—amid our hectic urban lifestyles—to secure a greater sense of serenity and fulfillment. He is the general editor of the book series Ecocritical Theory and Practice, which has published over sixty books exploring ways that fiction can help us address today’s most critical environmental problems. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Vakoch draws on lessons from astronauts for dealing with stress down here on Earth.

With graduate degrees in both history and philosophy of science and in psychology, for twelve years Dr. Vakoch taught the next generation of psychotherapists in the clinical psychology doctoral program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). He is now professor emeritus at CIIS, as well as CEO of Green Psychotherapy, PC, a psychological practice in Northern California, with offices in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Dr. Vakoch is an elected member of the International Astronomical Union and the International Institute for Space Law, and he received the Leonardo da Vinci Space Art Award “for dedication to the language and codes for broader cosmic reception and communication and their broader cultural meanings.” He has edited fifteen books with such diverse titles as Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SUNY Press), The Drake Equation: Estimating the Prevalence of Extraterrestrial Life through the Ages (Cambridge University Press), Psychology of Space Exploration (NASA), and Ecopsychology, Phenomenology, and the Environment (Springer). He also serves as editor-in-chief of Springer’s Space and Society book series.

Dr. Vakoch frequently appears in film and television documentaries, where he explores the hunt for life in the cosmos. His expertise includes space exploration, the societal impact of science, and environmental threats to humanity’s long-term survival. His work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Economist, Nature, Science, and WIRED, and he has been interviewed for numerous radio and television broadcasts on networks ranging from the BBC to the Science Channel, with recent segments on PBS’s “NOVA Wonders” and the History Channel’s “In Search Of” with Zachary Quinto. He was featured in the films Calling E.T., which had its American premiere at SXSW, and The Visit, which premiered at Sundance.

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