November 4, 2002

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Mountain View , CA – The SETI Institute and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are pleased to announce that Dr. Jill Cornell Tarter has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow. Election as a Fellow of the AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers.

Awarded to 291 members this year, Dr. Tarter joins a distinguished group of individuals elevated to this rank for their efforts to advance science or foster applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin Saturday, February 15 at the Fellows forum during the 2003 AAAS Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

One of six AAAS Fellows chosen for the Section on Astronomy, Tarter was elected for “persistent and inspiring dedication to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”

Said Tarter, "I am fortunate to live in the first generation of humans that can try to do experiments, using existing technologies, to answer the ancient question Are we alone?. This is what has always fascinated me about SETI and keeps me passionately engaged. It's also what serves as a hook to get kids interested in science. Over the past two decades, SETI has become the obligatory last chapter in nearly every introductory astronomy text. This honor from the AAAS affirms that SETI is, quite properly, becoming mainstream science."

The tradition of AAAS Fellows distinction began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups from the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or the Chief Executive Officer.

Each Steering Group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective Section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council who votes on the final aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the association, chaired by the president, and consisting of all board members, the retiring Section chairs, delegates for each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Academy of Sciences.

The SETI Institute

The SETI Institute is a 501c (3) non-profit California corporation, incorporated in 1984. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature, prevalence of life in the universe. The Center for SETI Research and the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe comprise the two key research foci of the Institute. Innovative education programs and public outreach based upon the work of these two centers advance the education component of the Institute’s mission.


Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS) has worked to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs, and publications, in the areas of science policy, science education and international scientific cooperation. With over 134,000 members from 130 countries and 272 affiliated societies comprising more than 10 million individual members, AAAS is the world’s largest federation of scientists. The association also publishes Science, an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, weekly peer-reviewed journal that ranks as the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. AAAS administers EurekaAlert!, the online news service, featuring the latest discoveries in science and technology.

Contact Information

Diane Richards
(650) 960-4513

Carol Hoy


Jill Tarter
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