Announcing: the Billingham Cutting-Edge Lecture At its 2005 meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, the SETI Permanent Committee (SPSG) of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) voted to establish an annual Billingham Cutting-Edge Lecture, as a forum to showcase breakthrough thinking in advancing the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. The lecture honors longtime SPSG member and former chairman Dr. John Billingham, a major force for forty years in promoting innovation within the SETI field. Speakers are to be selected by the SPSG, with one Cutting-Edge Lecture to be delivered each year at the opening of the SETI II sessions of the IAA Symposium on SETI, at the annual International Astronautical Congress.

Each year, the speaker chosen for that year will be asked to present one cutting-edge idea and its potential implications for the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence. To help with travel expenses and/or as a small honorarium, the speakers were initially paid $4000 US. Dr. Steven Dick, the first Billingham Cutting-Edge Lecturer (see below), generously waived his 2006 honorarium. SPSG member Dr. Allen Tough (Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto; Chief Scientist, Invitation to ETI) pledged $4000 US a year for the first five years' honoraria. The Billingham Cutting-Edge Lecture has subsequently become an uncompensated invited lecture.


Individuals selected to deliver the annual Billingham Cutting-Edge Lecture are listed below.


Year Lecturer Topic
2015 Lori Walton The History of the SETI Permanent Committee
2014 Jon Lomberg SETI's New Horizons
2013 H. Paul Shuch Analyzing the Stephens Mystery Signal
2012   No Billingham Cutting Edge Lecture given
2011 Gen. Simon 'Pete' Worden Expanding Human and Other Earth Life into the Universe
2010 Paul Davies Footprints of Alien Technology
2009 James N. Gardner How Cosmological Models Should Guide SETI Search Strategies
2008 Ivan Almar Do we interpret SETI terms correctly?
2007 Kathryn Denning Being Technological
2006 Steven J. Dick The Postbiological Universe (Abstract) (Paper)