The SETI initiative (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) was begun in the 1980s. That basic notion was actually first proposed in 1896 by Nikola Tesla. A number of efforts have been made since, the first modern occurring 1960 at Cornell University.
In spite of all the effort, there has not as of yet been a confirmed contact. If there had, we'd all have known about it :)
A number of theories have been offered as to why this is, ranging from we are searching in the wrong frequencies, to intelligent civilizations get to a point where they destroy themselves, to maybe indeed: we are the only intelligent life in the universe.
My piece is not only to honor the visionary scientists who have worked towards this discovery, but to the authors and film makers like Jules Verne and Georges Méliès, who have inspired our imaginations over the decades.