History, Objectives, and Financial Needs
I made the discovery about the existence of superwaves in 1979, and in 1983 completed a Ph.D. dissertation on this subject at Portland State University. My research indicated that superwaves have repeatedly affected the Earth in the past and that they will continue to do so in the future. I saw that it is important to determine what their effects have been and to develop ways of minimizing hazards associated with future events.
The superwave phenomenon was unknown to science at the time I first made these discoveries. There were then no institutions carrying out research on superwaves. Yet I felt that some organization should have such research as its main responsibility, an institution that could maintain a vigilance for superwaves well beyond the lifetimes of its founders. I conceived this as the main purpose behind the formation of the Starburst Foundation. The Foundation embodies a perspective that is global, long-range, and protective of the planet. It is concerned with survival of the human race and preservation of our planet's ecosystems in the face of natural hazards of astronomical origin.
Steve: We have already gotten into my second question for you, namely what are the purposes of the Foundation? Is there anything else you could add about this?
Paul: Starburst intends to serve as a vehicle through which donors may support research on novel ideas that normally would have a difficult time being funded through most foundation or government channels. Normally when someone submits a research proposal to a government agency like the National Science Foundation, the proposal is sent out for peer review. For the most part these reviewers share the conservative views of the scientific establishment. As a result, theories which are consistent with the established paradigm are supported, and those that go against the grain are not. So there is a proliferation of relatively mundane projects that serve to perpetuate old outmoded ideas.
One of the Foundation's goals is to provide a means by which creative individuals can pursue their research even though it may challenge views commonly held by the scientific community. Since the Foundation's resources are at present relatively limited, we have chosen to concentrate on certain specific areas of research.
Steve: Now, the first and most major project of the Foundation has to do with Galactic superwaves.
Paul: Yes, at present the scientific community is giving little attention to this recently discovered phenomenon. Yet research on superwaves is desperately needed since this phenomenon could pose a substantial near term threat to our planet. That is, there is a certain probability that a superwave could impact us before the end of this century. Since most of the world is unaware of their existence, one of Starburst's main priorities is to educate people about superwaves and their potential hazards.
Steve: What kind of support is needed for this work and what are you getting at present?
Paul: Well we have one project that requires about $50,000 to implement. This is an international outreach project to alert nations to the hazards of Galactic superwaves. We especially want to bring this to the attention of defense departments around the world so as to reduce the danger of an inadvertent nuclear attack. Nuclear disarmament organizations should also be interested since if there is a threat that something could mistakenly trigger a nuclear missile launching, then that gives all the more reason for disarmament efforts to proceed with all due haste.
We have another project which is budgeted for about $63,000 which seeks to analyze samples of prehistoric polar ice to see how the rate of cosmic dust influx to our planet has varied over the past 25,000 years. This will help to provide more hard data on the superwaves which affected the Earth toward the end of the Ice Age. We need such data to determine what exactly happened in the past so that we can get some idea of what could happen in the future when the next event arrives.
In addition, we would like to carry out astronomical observations to study superwaves that have already passed by and to detect nearby superwaves that may be approaching our Solar System. A special receiver device will need to be built for this purpose. Design, construction, and testing of this probe will cost about $40,000.
Then there are a lot of other projects that we would like to continue to pursue, like publishing articles on superwaves, giving lectures, organizing conferences, and networking with scientists. We are in touch with scientists all over the world. We plan to inform people about the superwave phenomenon and about other research we are doing by securing media coverage and by preparing video tapes for educational purposes. We are also developing a novel physics theory that could shed some light on the mechanism behind Galactic core explosions. So there is a wide range of projects that need financial support.
So how much money does Starburst need? For the projects that are immediately scheduled we have projected that Starburst will need about $200,000. Ultimately, though, it would be nice if we had an annual budget of several million dollars.
Starburst relies on donations and bequests from the general public, charitable institutions, and the business community. Every contribution helps.