If you loved Jodie Foster’s role in the movie ‘Contact’, this is one lecture that you do not want to miss. This person on whom Foster’s character was based on, has received many accolades in the field of aerospace, including the 1989 Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace, the 1997 Chabot Observatory Person of the Year award, two public service medals from NASA, and was even named in the TIME 100 Most Influential People of the World. This year, Pragyan ’15 is set to host an enticing lecture by Jill Tarter, an American astronomer and the former director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research.

Currently one of the chairpersons at the SETI Institute, Tarter received her Bachelor of Engineering Physics Degree with Distinction from Cornell University, and went on to receive a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Astronomy from UC Berkeley. At NASA’s SETI program, she served as a project scientist on the High Resolution Microwave Survey, and has conducted numerous observational programs at radio observatories worldwide. She also serves on the management board for the highly advanced Allen Telescope Array.

A frequent and avid speaker at museums and science centers, Tarter is deeply involved in the education of scientists and future citizens. The head of various school curriculum projects, she is known for her commitment to bringing science and education under the same roof.

Click here to view her profile at

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