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University of Iowa News Release

March 11, 2004

Public Lecture On Search For Extraterrestrial Life Is March 23

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department of physics and astronomy Distinguished Public Lecture Series will sponsor a 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, talk by Jill C. Tarter, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI and director of the Center for SETI Research, SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif., on "Life, the Universe, and SETI in a Nutshell." The talk will be held in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall, Linn St. and Iowa Ave.

Tarter's talk will focus on the scientific -- as opposed to the Hollywood cinematic -- search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). New technologies, a new appreciation for the tenacity of life and a growing respect for the world of microbes, new spacecraft and missions, and new observatory facilities are rapidly expanding our viewpoint, she says. In the future, SETI will broaden its strategies and extend its range out into the galaxy, looking for evidence of someone else's technology.

Tarter received her doctorate in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. 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 has published scores of technical articles, has been elected to many professional societies, and has served on a number of scientific advisory committees. Her work has brought her wide recognition in the scientific community, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace, two Public Service Medals from NASA, Chabot Observatory's Person of the Year Award (1997), Women of Achievement Award in the Science and Technology category by the Women's Fund and the San Jose Mercury News (1998), and the Tesla Award of Technology at the Telluride Tech Festival (2001). She was elected a Fellow of AAAS in 2002 and a California Academy of Sciences Fellow in 2003.

In conjunction with her presentation, she will be a guest on "Talk of Iowa," WSUI, AM-910, at 10 a.m. Monday, March 22.

The Distinguished Public Lecture Series is aimed at providing an introduction to the frontiers of physics and astronomy for non-specialists, including the general public, and features prominent speakers from the University of Iowa and other institutions. All lectures in the series are held on Tuesdays beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall, Linn St. and Iowa Ave.

Future scheduled lectures in the series include:

--Daniel Ralph, associate professor of physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y, will speak on "Nano-Science and Technology: A Progress Report" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.

--Mary Hall Reno, UI professor of physics and astronomy, will speak on "Neutrinos: Messengers from the Biggest Explosions in the Universe" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4.

The series is presented by the department of physics and astronomy, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu.