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France Córdova confirmed as NSF director

France Cordova, NSF Director
France Córdova is the new director of the National Science Foundation. (Photo courtesy Purdue University.)

March 17, 2014 | The Senate voted on March 12 to confirm astrophysicist France Córdova as head of the National Science Foundation, making her NSF's 14th leader in that post.

Córdova comes to NSF after a five-year term as president of Purdue University. She has also served on the National Science Board since 2008.

Some of her career highlights, as posted on the Purdue University website:

Prior to joining Purdue, Córdova served as chancellor and distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California (UC) Riverside from 2002 to 2007. At UC Riverside she was instrumental in launching a medical school and a community-university art museum complex. Under her watch, UC Riverside became a national model for the academic success of underrepresented students.

An internationally recognized astrophysicist, Córdova served from 1996 to 2002 as a professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara and initiated a "Research Across Disciplines" program that funded and encouraged both interdisciplinary and "blue sky" projects. Before joining UC Santa Barbara, she was chief scientist at NASA from 1993 to 1996, serving as the primary scientific advisor to the NASA administration and the principal interface between NASA headquarters and the broader scientific community. In that role she evaluated the science mission and budget for NASA and worked with the National Science and Technology Council, federal government agencies, and National Academies on a broad range of science policy initiatives. Córdova formerly instructed courses in astrobiology and leadership development. . . .

Córdova was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and is a national associate of the National Academies. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).


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