you can have it ALL - just don't expect it to be easy (actually it won't just be
hard, it will be massively difficult, but worth every struggle). Try to ignore
gender biased counseling, and do whatever it is you love to do."
Jill Tarter - Looking
In 1985, Carl Sagan's novel, "Contact," was released. It tells the
story of Ellie Arroway, a radio astronomer, and her search for extraterrestrial
intelligence. In 1997, the movie by the same name was released with Jodie Foster
Meet a real-life Ellie Arroway...Dr. Jill Tarter. Though the character in
Sagan's book was not based on Dr. Tarter, there are a lot of similarities.
Dr. Tarter is the Director of the Center for Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence (SETI) Research and is a Principle Investigator on Voyages
Through Time, a high school science curriculum based on evolution that the SETI
Institute is developing. She also holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI.
The SETI Institute is a private organization looking for life in the Universe.
Radio astronomy is used in their search for "extraterrestrial
technologies". Finding such signals may indicate
intelligent life other than that found on Earth.
on the Web
Using your favorite search engine, you will find many
sites on Dr. Tarter. Here are a few we found particularly interesting.
News - 1999 live chat transcript with Dr. Tarter.
the movie - The official Web site for the movie. (I love the sound-bite
as the page loads!)
University - A biography on Dr. Tarter at the university where she received her degree in
engineering physics, which she thought was "boring."
of Women in Astronomy - This biography is a little dated, but still full
of useful information.
Gazette - An interview with Dr. Tarter by Rose City Astronomers' Bob
McGown and Dareth Murray as published in the March 2002 society newsletter.
SETI - This
is the organization that is searching for sentient life in the Universe. Dr.
Tarter is Director of the Center for SETI Research, a Principal Investigator
for the upcoming Voyages Through Time CD-ROM, and the Bernard M. Oliver
Chair for SETI.
- SETI's site on the movie. Here are some comments from Dr. Tarter about
the movie. You will also find another reality-inspired character, Kent
Clark, the blind researcher.
Profile - SETI's profile on Dr. Tarter as Director of the Center for
M. Oliver Chair - SETI's profile on Dr. Tarter as the first
appointee to this chair.
- Here is another 1999 interview with Dr. Tarter on one of the Web's best
sites on space and astronomy.
On the remote chance that you were abducted by LGMs (little green
men) and haven't read the book or seen the movie, you may order them through
this Web site at Amazon.com. By using the links below to place your order, you
will help theWoman Astronomer pay for
this Web site.
A novel by Carl Sagan, ©1985,
When I first read this book, I really enjoyed the story, though I
thought the characters were a little bland. I've since changed my opinion, in
large part, because of Jodie Foster's excellent performance in the movie version.
Get the VHS Contact
or the DVD Contact
to add to your video library.
I would like to thank the SETI Institute for their assistance with
this page by providing the above image of Dr. Tarter, as well as her quote. I
would also like to thank Chris Neller at SETI for checking the accuracy of this