Blumberg was on the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s Board of Trustees. But as he explained in a 2002 New York Times interview, he would have been “very surprised if we found something in space, that it would look like E.T.”
Before he began his search for extraterrestrial life, Blumberg was heavily involved in virus research and vaccine development. USA Today quotes former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin as saying, “Barry saved lives through his research on the Hepatitis B virus. He also inspired a whole generation of people worldwide through his work in building the NASA Astrobiology Institute.” Blumberg’s work developing vaccines earned him the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Through his work in medicine, Blumberg is credited with saving millions of lives. Because of his work at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, the institute of which he was the founding director, he is credited with expanding the understanding of the evolutionary phenomenon called polymorphism, in addition to inspiring a generation of astrobiologists in the search for extraterrestrial life.