2024 Drake Awards

SETI Institute Event

2024 Drake Awards

Tags: Drake Equation, Frank Drake, Awards, SETI, Education

Time: Thursday, May 16, 2024 -

Location: Mountain View, CA & Virtual

We’re excited to celebrate all things SETI and astrobiology! The SETI Institute’s annual event has a new venue (the Computer History Museum) and a new format (a seated dinner)!

Join us as we honor groundbreaking achievements in the search for life beyond Earth.  

Three awards will be presented - Carl Sagan Center Director's Award, SETI Forward Award for undergrads, and most importantly - the 2024 Drake Award. Reserve your seat today, and share your evening with prominent scientists, leaders in space sciences, and SETI Institute fans and supporters like you!

Moiya McTier
Moiya McTier
Author and Astrophysicist



Drake Award

The SETI Institute’s Drake Award celebrates exemplary contributions to SETI or astrobiology through scientific research and space exploration. The award honors Frank Drake, whose Drake Equation first identified the specific factors necessary for the emergence of life in the Universe and the evolution of technological civilizations. This honor is given at the discretion of the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute, based on nominations from its Science Advisory Board. The honoree is presented a cash award and trophy, and is invited to describe their research at a public ceremony. The Award was initially presented to Frank Drake in 2001.

Andrew Siemion

The SETI Institute is pleased to announce that Dr. Andrew Siemion will be honored with the prestigious 2024 Drake Award for his exceptional and pioneering contributions to SETI and radio astronomy and his leadership in the field. Siemion's distinguished career includes his role as the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute, Principal Investigator for the Breakthrough Listen Initiative at the University of Oxford, along with holding an Honorary Professorship at the University of Manchester, an Adjunct Appointment at the University of Malta, and directing the Berkeley SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. His dedication to SETI science and funding has been crucial in advocating for the scientific validity and importance of the field.

Carl Sagan Center Director's Award

Carl Sagan Center Director’s Award is awarded to an outstanding SETI Institute scientist who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in their field. This award honors the impact of SETI Institute former Trustee, Carl Sagan, whose innovation, invention, leadership and collaboration in space science continues to inspire scientists and the public alike.

Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis, distinguished for his role as a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute and as Chief Science Officer at Unistellar, is renowned for his significant contributions to astronomy and science outreach. Following his Ph.D. completion in France and his move to the U.S. in 2000, Marchis made groundbreaking discoveries, including the first triple-asteroid system in 2005 and the direct imaging of a Jupiter-like exoplanet in 2015, utilizing advanced adaptive optics technologies. His work has been celebrated in major scientific journals and led to the naming of asteroid (6639) Marchis in his honor.

In addition to his research, Marchis is an avid science communicator and entrepreneur, founding Unistellar in 2017 and Dope Space in 2023 to promote space science to the public. He has contributed to over 400 scientific publications and served on numerous prestigious committees, demonstrating his commitment to advancing the field of astronomy and fostering the next generation of scientists. His recognition as a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2023 underscores his impact on scientific discovery and education, making him a pivotal figure in exploring our universe.

Outside work, Franck is a devoted father to his two children and dog, a CrossFit enthusiast, and an avid hiker and traveler who delights in exploring Earth's diverse civilizations and cultures.

SETI Forward

SETI Institute, with its partners, particularly Berkeley SETI Research Center, have created an endowment, called SETI Forward Fund, that will support and encourage the next generation of SETI scientists. SETI Forward will increase pathways for undergraduates interested in careers pursuing SETI research. For more information on SETI Forward, including how you can add your support, click here.

Lana Tilke

Dana Yaptangco: Unveiling Megastructures with Machine Learning
Dana, a student at the University of Florida, conducted her internship at the University of California, Berkeley. Advised by Dr. Ann Marie Cody and Dr. Daniel Giles, Dana developed a machine learning-enabled pipeline to detect anomalous patterns that could indicate the presence of megastructures around stars. Her findings have unveiled the detectability of megastructures in various shapes, providing valuable insights for ongoing research.

"I am truly honored to be recognized for my work in SETI," said Dana. "This scholarship provides an incredible opportunity to connect with inspiring researchers around the world. I am grateful to be part of this wonderful community dedicated to exploring humanity's intrinsic questions."

roza okon

Róża Okoń: Decrypting the Secrets of Adenosine Isomers
Róża, a graduate of the University of Warsaw, Poland, currently pursuing her master's at the University of Barcelona, delved into the photochemical differences between two isomers of adenosine during her project at Harvard University and Wrocław University of Science and Technology. Awarded the 'Gold Medal of Chemistry' in Poland, Rózà demonstrated the higher photostability of the biological isomer, shedding light on the potential role of UV light in molecular evolution on early Earth.

"Working on this project was fascinating, not only in terms of discovering the unknown but also due to the opportunity to meet people of science from around the world," says Róża. "Every opportunity to meet people from the field opens a new door for a young researcher and eventually creates a unique set of experiences that build us as future scientists."

Reed Spurling

With special recognition of the 2023 REU Award of Excellence recipient, Reed C. Spurling (University of Arizona), for their summer research entitled Crater-based surface age dating of Osuga Valles, Mars.

Virtual Reception

Can't join us in person? Our virtual audience from all over the world will be treated to a special presentation as well as a live ceremony watch party. More details to come!

Visit us at https://drakeawards.seti.org/ to learn more about the Drake Awards.