Recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on SETI Nomenclature

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jason T. Wright, Sofia Sheikh, Iván Almár, Kathryn Denning, Steven Dick, Jill Tarter
(Submitted on 18 Sep 2018)

The Ad Hoc Committee on SETI Nomenclature was convened at the suggestion of Frank Drake after the Decoding Alien Intelligence Workshop at the SETI Institute in March 2018. The purpose of the committee was to recommend standardized definitions for terms, especially those that are used inconsistently in the literature and the scientific community. The committee sought to recommend definitions and terms that are a compromise among several desirable but occasionally inconsistent properties for such terms:

1) Consistency with the historical literature and common use in the field;

2) Consistency with the present literature and common use in the field;

3) Precision of meaning;

4) Consistency with the natural (i.e. everyday, non-jargon) meanings of terms;

5) Compatibility with non-English terms and definitions.

The definitions in this report are restricted to technical, SETI contexts, where they may have jargon senses different from their everyday senses. In many cases we include terms only to deprecate them (in the sense of "to withdraw official support for or discourage the use favor of a newer or better alternative", Merriam-Webster sense 4). This is a consensus document that the committee members all endorse; however, in many cases the individual members have (or have expressed in the past) more nuanced opinions on these terms that are not fully reflected here, for instance Alm\'ar (2008, Acta Astronautica, 68, 351), Denning (2008, NASA-SP-2009-4802 Ch. 3 pp.63-124), and Wright (2018, arXiv:1803.06972).

Comments:    10pp, to be presented at the NASA Technosignatures Workshop in Houston, TX, USA Sep. 26-28, 2018
Subjects:    Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as:    arXiv:1809.06857 [physics.pop-ph] (or arXiv:1809.06857v1 [physics.pop-ph] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jason Wright
[v1] Tue, 18 Sep 2018 13:06:25 GMT (204kb)

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