Fast Company Names Jill Tarter One of the Most Influential

Award-Winning Astronomer and Researcher Honored in February 2009 Issue

Hi-Resolution Image Available Upon Request

Mountain View, CA -- Astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute, has been named one of “The Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company magazine. Dr. Tarter’s search for extraterrestrial signals is often taken as the role model for Jodie Foster’s portrayal in the film “Contact,” The article, which appears in February issue, recognizes technology leaders who “…are an inspiration for everyone, demonstrating what can be achieved through creativity and hard work.”

Tarter is Director of the Institute’s Center for SETI Research, and also holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She is one of the few researchers to have devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and there are few aspects of this field that have not been affected by her work.

Tarter was the lead for Project Phoenix, a decade-long SETI scrutiny of about 750 nearby star systems, using telescopes in Australia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. While no clearly extraterrestrial signal was found, this was the most comprehensive targeted search for artificially generated cosmic signals ever undertaken. Now Tarter heads up the Institute’s efforts, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, to build and operate the Allen Telescope Array, a massive new instrument that will eventually comprise 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will be able to enormously increase the speed, and the spectral search range, of the Institute’s hunt for signals. A subset of the full array began operations in the Fall of 2007.

The SETI Institute

The SETI Institute is a unique team of world class scientists dedicated to understanding the origin and nature of life on Earth and its possible existence throughout the universe. The Institute accomplishes this via:

Research - Fundamental and significant investigations into the workings of life, and how and where it might have arisen.

Exploration - Examining life in its most extreme forms and locations on Earth, exploring our solar system for evidence of microbial life, and searching the cosmos for indications of distant life, especially intelligent life.

Education - Education and Outreach programs inviting students to participate in our search for life in the universe, and sharing the wonder of our science with the public.

The SETI Institute is bringing together some of the best and brightest minds in science today to unlock the mysteries of the cosmos.

About SETI Institute

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach. Founded in November 1984, the SETI Institute began operations on February 1, 1985. Today it employs over 120 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by three centers. Gerry Harp is Director of the Center for SETI Research (Jill Tarter continues as Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI). David Morrison is the Director for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. Edna DeVore leads our Center for Education and Public Outreach.
Online at