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== Involvement in SETI == During this period at SFSU he assisted an adjunct faculty member (Professor Charles Seeger <ref>Springer Bio of Charles Seeger http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/332047.html</ref>) in obtaining research funding for NASA’s fledgling [[SETI]] research program (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and through this introduction met many of the early SETI researchers.<ref name="SETI"/> At that time, a good deal of NASA’s research on SETI was conducted through grants to universities, with the university personnel performing the work in NASA facilities. In 1984, encouraged by scientists such as Drs. [[Barney Oliver]], [[John Billingham]], and [[Jill Tarter]], Pierson looked for a way to more efficiently use SETI funding. Later that year, an informal social gathering of SETI scientists, he presented his solution: to develop a non-profit research organization that could serve as an institutional home for scientists and engineers interested in devoting their careers to the study of life in the universe. The scientists, including Dr. [[Frank Drake]], enthusiastically endorsed the idea. Pierson incorporated the [[SETI Institute]] as a 501(c)(3) non-profit on November 20, 1984, and by February 1985 the Institute received its first grant for research supporting NASA’s SETI Program. A few months later, the Institute received a second grant for Exobiology (later known as Astrobiology) research. From the start, Pierson encouraged the addition of all research and science education projects related to “life in the universe.” He made the Institute an attractive home for scientists and educators by assembling an administrative staff that provided efficient support services (purchasing, HR, accounting, etc.) with a very low overhead rate.
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