Who We Are: Valeria Ascheri
Dr. Valeria Ascheri completed her Ph.D. in the philosophy of science at the University of Genoa in Italy in May 2004, at the age of 27. Five years earlier she completed her final dissertation ("The Problem of Language in SETI") in the philosophy of language and science in the University of Genoa's Department of Philosophy. At Bioastronomy '99 in Hawaii, her poster paper on "A Methodological Approach to Communicate with Extraterrestrials" wrestled with the problem of how to communicate with a distant intelligence whose characteristics are unknown to us. She chose chemistry as the most likely common ground, and proposed transmitting an artificial chemical encyclopedia (the spectra of abundant elements and then the spectra of chemical elements that we have created in laboratories). In 2001, she continued this line of thinking in her presentations at the International Astronautical Congress in Toulouse, where she was elected a member of the IAA SETI Permanent Study Group. Her essay for Tobias Wabbel's forthcoming collection discusses the philosophical and theological implications if SETI succeeds. Dr. Ascheri lives in Rome with her husband and their young son, Tommaso.