Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Kamau: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jun 08, 2009
Scientist: Kamau Hamilton

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Kamau

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Kamau
Extraterrestrials may not speak a common language, but might they relate to the sounds of earth?


music; ambience ocean surf, waves

KJ: “Good afternoon.”
JM: “Hi, is that Kamau?”
KJ: “Yes.”
JM: “Kamau, you’re the winner of the Kids’ Science Challenge in the SETI competition.”
KJ: “I am? That’s great!”

JM: Supposing you had an opportunity to send a message to an extraterrestrial civilization. How would you do it? I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Now, we can’t assume that E.T. knows English, Spanish, or any earthly language. And that’s why astronomers at the SETI Institute--the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligencewere so impressed by Kamau Hamilton's idea. Kamau is a 6th grader who submitted a winning entry to the Kids’ Science Challenge our nationwide competition for third to sixth graders. Kamau spoke with us by phone from his school in Harlem, New York.

KJ: “We’re sending messages to aliens with language, in English and other languages, but we don’t know if the aliens have a language, or if they speak. So I suggest that if an alien has, if their world has an ocean, and our world has an ocean, then it probably would sound the same way, like whoosh, and our ocean sounds that way too. And the aliens would think, oh, there’s somewhere out there like us.”

[ocean waves]

JM: In 1977, NASA launched a collection of earth sounds and images into space on the Voyager spacecraft mission. And although there are no immediate plans to send a new message, astronomers at SETI will be working with Kamau to record and compile a new collection of the sounds of the earth. Log on to, and stay tuned as this exciting new project unfolds.

Pulse of the Planet’s Kids’ Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.