The Bernard Oliver Chair
Date: Thursday, 30 October 1997
From: "Tom Pierson"
Subject: The Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI Further information on this position will be online soon at the SETI Institute website at http://www.seti.org
Jill Cornell Tarter Appointed to the the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI
The Board of Directors of the SETI Institute has appointed Dr. Jill Cornell Tarter to a new endowed position at the Institute: the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. This chair is named in honor of the late Barney Oliver, long-time Vice President for Research at Hewlett Packard Company, member of the SETI Institute Board of Directors, Chief Engineer of the Institute after his retirement from HP, and SETI pioneer. It recognizes Dr. Oliver's legacy of visionary leadership in SETI from Project Cyclops to Project Phoenix, and the scientific and engineering wisdom he generously bestowed on the Institute since its founding in 1984. The establishment of this Chair also recognizes the fact that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is the cornerstone of all activities at the Institute. This central thrust is now emphasized by conferring on a distinguished world leader of SETI science the honor of a Chair named after Barney Oliver and dedicated to SETI. In establishing this Chair, the Board makes permanent a position that will always honor a recipient who has made major contributions to one or more fields in the domain of SETI, which includes studies of the origin, evolution, nature and distribution of life in the universe, the study of related phenomena in the disciplines of astrophysics, astronomy, and the planetary sciences, the science and technology of SETI (e.g. instrument science, physics, engineering, signal detection, computation, and antenna design). The recipient will have published extensively and will be widely recognized in the scientific and/or engineering communities. In the tradition of the great man for whom this position is named, the holder of the Chair will provide leadership in the future planning and development efforts that are so critical to the advancement of the Institute and its work. The holder of the Chair will represent the Institute in the scientific and engineering communities at the national and international level, and will have a strong responsibility to advance the Institute's visibility and ensure its continued credibility within these communities. The first appointee to this Chair, Dr. Jill Cornell Tarter, is one of the world's most prominent leaders in the field of SETI. Dr. Tarter, a founding member of the Institute's staff, received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley. She began SETI research with U.C.'s project SERENDIP as a graduate student. After a post-doctoral appointment with NASA Ames' Space Sciences Office, Dr. Tarter continued research in SETI and was named Project Scientist for NASA's High Resolution Microwave Survey. After the loss of NASA funding for SETI, Dr. Tarter was named Director of the Institute's Project Phoenix, a position which she continues to hold. An active hands-on SETI observer, Dr. Tarter has achieved many distinctions in her career. She holds the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace for her contributions to the fields of Exobiology and SETI. Dr. Tarter's distinctions include election as member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, President (1994-1997) of International Astronomical Union Commission 51, Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Committee, and numerous appointments to senior scientific advisory panels. She was also named 1997 "Person of the Year" by Chabot Science Center and is the recipient of two Public Service Medals from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.