The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) long-standing relationship with the science and engineering community has always generated a continuous stream of leading-edge ideas that have produced new discoveries, inventions and approaches. With input from this community in mind, the NSF launched an extensive planning exercise to identify ideas for investment to ensure that future generations will reap the benefits of fundamental scientific research. France A. Córdova, Ph.D., director of the NSF, discussed the "10 Big Ideas" that emerged from this effort, many of which cut across disciplinary boundaries and require novel methods and approaches.
This event, part of the Rorschach Lecture Series organized by the Physics and Astronomy Department at Rice University, was sponsored by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program, in conjunction with Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences. Support for the Civic Scientist Program is generously provided by Benjamin and Winifer Cheng.
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France A. Córdova, Ph.D., was sworn in as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014. Nominated by President Barack Obama to head the independent, $7.5 billion federal agency, Córdova leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University, where she served as president from 2007 to 2012. From 2002 to 2007, she led the University of California, Riverside as chancellor and was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. Córdova was the vice chancellor for research and professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1996 to 2002. From 1993 to 1996, Córdova served as NASA's chief scientist. Prior to joining NASA, she was a faculty member at Pennsylvania State University, where she headed the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics from 1989 to 1993. Córdova was deputy group leader in the Earth and Space Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1988 to 1989. She is a recipient of NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a Kilby Laureate in 2000. Córdova was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a national associate of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Women in Science. She received a bachelor of arts from Stanford University and a doctorate in physics from the California Institute of Technology.
6:00 pm — Reception
6:30 pm — Presentation