Festival Dates! April 28 - May 6

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Las Vegas Science & Technology Festival Speakers Event

May 2, 2017

6:30pm

West Charleston Library

6301 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89146

Jill Cornell Tarter
"Are We Alone? In Search of Intelligent Life in the Cosmos"


Jill Tarter holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) at the SETI Institute in Mountain
View, California. Tarter received her Bachelor of Engineering Physics Degree with Distinction from Cornell University and her
Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Project Scientist for
NASA’s SETI program, the High Resolution Microwave Survey, and has conducted numerous observational programs at radio
observatories worldwide. Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role
to secure private funding to continue this exploratory science. Prior to her retirement as Director for the Center for SETI
Research last May, Tarter served on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, located at Hat Creek Radio
Observatory in northern California. When this innovative array of 350 6-m antennas is fully operational, it will simultaneously
survey the radio universe for known and unexpected sources of astrophysical emissions, and speed up the search for radio
emissions from other distant technologies by orders of magnitude.


Tarter’s work has brought her wide recognition in the scientific community, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from
Women in Aerospace, two Public Service Medals from NASA, Chabot Observatory’s Person of the Year award (1997), Women of
Achievement Award in the Science and Technology category by the Women’s Fund and the San Jose Mercury News (1998), and
the Tesla Award of Technology at the Telluride Tech Festival (2001). She was elected an AAAS Fellow in 2002 and a California
Academy of Sciences Fellow in 2003 (and CAS Scientific Trustee in 2007). In 2004 Time Magazine named her one of the Time 100
most influential people in the world, and in 2005 Tarter was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization at
Wonderfest, the biannual San Francisco Bay Area Festival of Science. In 2006 Tarter became a National Advisory Board member
for the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy in Washington, DC. She is also a Fellow on the Committee for the Scientific
Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). Tarter was one of three Technology, Education, Design (TED)
prizewinners and named one of the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company Magazine in 2009, and in April 2010
was a recipient of the Silicon Valley Women of Influence 2010 Award, in addition to becoming an elected fellow of WINGS
WorldQuest. In 2015 she received a Genius Award from the Liberty Science Center (along with Vint Cerf and Jeff Bezos) and she
became the President of the California Academy of Sciences.


Tarter is deeply involved in the education of future citizens and scientists. In addition to her scientific leadership at NASA and
SETI Institute, Tarter has been the Principal Investigator for two curriculum development projects funded by NSF, NASA, and
others. The first, the Life in the Universe series, created 6 science-teaching guides for grades 3-9 (published 1994-96). Her second
project, Voyages Through Time, is an integrated high school science curriculum on the fundamental theme of evolution in six
modules: Cosmic Evolution, Planetary Evolution, Origin of Life, Evolution of Life, Hominid Evolution and Evolution of
Technology (published 2003). Tarter is a frequent speaker for science teacher meetings and at museums and science centers,
bringing her commitment to science and education to both teachers and the public. Many people are now familiar with her work
as portrayed by Jodie Foster in the movie Contact.