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ET explorer, thinking person's ghostbuster for 06

Media Release For Immediate Release
7 November 2005

Extraterrestrial explorer and thinking person's ghostbuster beam in for 2006 Science Festival

Two leading figures from the world of science will be keynote speakers at the New Zealand International Science Festival to be held in Dunedin, New Zealand, from 1 July–9 July 2006.

The two keynote speakers for the Festival are Dr Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute (USA), and Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom).

Dr Jill Tarter is at the forefront of the global search for extraterrestrial intelligence as the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and is Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.

Dr. Tarter has devoted her life to the science of detecting intelligent, technological civilizations in outer space through searches of the electromagnetic (radio and now optical) spectrum.

In 2004, Dr. Tarter was selected by TIME magazine as one of the world’s 100 most “influential and powerful people.” She was chosen in the “Scientist and Thinker” category for her leadership role in the scientific search for evidence of life on other worlds, and for her efforts to promote scientific literacy among youth, particularly girls and young women.

Her work was used as the basis of the 1997 blockbuster film "Contact", starring Jodie Foster.

This is her major public appearance in her first visit to New Zealand.

Professor Richard Wiseman holds Britain's only chair in Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

The author of the best seller "The Luck Factor", he frequently appears in the media discussing his research in areas such as the paranormal, lying, and humour, and has published over 40 articles in leading academic journals.

Dubbed ‘the thinking man’s ghostbuster' by The Times (London), Professor Wiseman started his working life as an award winning magician.

His first appearance in New Zealand has been made possible with the support of the British Council.

New Zealand International Science Festival Chair Roy Borgman says the Festival is a major event for New Zealand that is attracting some of the world's top science communicators.

"The public have a real opportunity at the 2006 festival to see global leaders in science personally presenting their insights into fascinating areas of research."

Ancillary events, ticket sales, VIP's, calendar, and additional speakers are yet to be announced.

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