Jill Tarter

Nov 10, 2022

EP 168 - Jill Tarter
Welcome to the Pretty Intense Podcast. Continuing with my fascination of the theme, of the universe, and reality. Are there extraterrestrials out there? Jill Tarter is on the show. Jill was the former director of the SETI Institute. SETI is the "Search for Extraterrestrials Intelligence." Jill inspired the Jodi Foster role in one of my top 5 favorite movies: "Contact". This role lead me to Jill. We had a great conversation. We did not talk about whether or not it's true, that there are aliens, because Jill is not into giving an opinion. We talked about the facts. We talked about whats actually being done, the technology. What could be received from another planet or another star. What messages to other civilizations we are transmitting. How we continue to evolve in our development of technology for transmitting messages into the Universe. Discovery Magazine calls Jill Tarter one of the most important women in science. I feel like I was just talking to a legend. Please enjoy this show with this shooting science star, Jill Tarter.


Jill Tarter is the Emeritus Chair for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for that institution. 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 has spent the majority of her professional career attempting to answer the old human question “Are we alone?” by searching for evidence of technological civilizations beyond Earth. 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. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Explorers Club, she was named one of the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2004, and one of the Time 25 in Space in 2012, received a TED prize in 2009, two public service awards from NASA, multiple awards for communicating science to the public, and has been honored as a woman in technology. She was the 2014 Jansky Lecturer, and received a Genius Award from Liberty Science Center in 2015. She served as President of the California Academy of Sciences 2015-16. Asteroid 74824 Tarter (1999 TJ16) has been named in her honor. In 2018 she was recognized with the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award and the Sir Arthur Clarke Innovator’s Award, and in 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role to design and build the Allen Telescope Array and to secure private funding to continue the exploratory science of SETI. Many people are now familiar with her work as portrayed by Jodie Foster in the movie Contact. Her biography Making Contact was written by Sarah Scoles and published in 2017.


Connect with Jill:
IG: @jill.tarter
Twitter: @jilltarter
Website: https://www.seti.org/our-scientists/jill-tarter