Jill Cornell Tarter (born Jan 16, 1944) is an American astronomer and the current director of the Center for SETI Research, holding the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute.
Tarter received her undergraduate education at Cornell University, where she earned a Bachelor of Engineering Physics Degree, and a Master's degree and PhD in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley.
Tarter has worked on a number of major scientific projects, most relating to the search for extraterrestrial life. As a graduate student, she worked on the radio-search project SERENDIP, and created the corresponding backronym, "Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations." She was project scientist for NASA's High Resolution Microwave Survey (HRMS) in 1992 and 1993 and subsequently director of Project Phoenix (HRMS reconfigured) under the auspices of the SETI Institute. She was co-creator with Margaret Turnbull of the HabCat in 2002, a principal component of Project Phoenix. Tarter has published dozens of technical papers and lectures extensively both on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the need for proper science education. She is credited with coining the term "brown dwarf" for the classification of stars with insufficient mass to sustain hydrogen fusion. She has spent 35 years in the quest for extraterrestrial life.
Definitely a great career and a loss to the community. I hope she has a wonderful time in her retirement. She earned it.