NASA appoints new leaders to two offices

NASA's new Science Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Alan Stern has appointed NASA scientist and 2006 Nobel Prize recipient John Mather to lead the Office of the Chief Scientist at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The office will be responsible for assisting the associate administrator in setting flight mission and research budget priorities for all NASA science programs. The office will ensure NASA's research programs are scientifically and technologically well founded and appropriate for their intended applications, and that they achieve a fair and optimal balance among the scientific disciplines in the directorate.

Mather and his staff in the newly created office will be chief advisers to Stern.

In October 2006, Mather and George Smoot of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., received the Nobel Prize for physics for their collaborative work in understanding the Big Bang.

Mather joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to head the Cosmic Background Explorer Mission as project scientist. He has been a Goddard Fellow since 1994 and currently is senior project scientist and chairman of the Science Working Group of the James Webb Space Telescope. He will continue this position.

Additionally, Stern named Paul Hertz to direct the newly created Science Policy, Process and Ethics Office. Hertz will ensure that NASA's science research programs are conducted with the highest standards and effectiveness in accordance with NASA's principles of science merit, open competition and peer review. He also will be responsible for the solicitation, selection and award processes within the directorate's research program.

Hertz joined the NASA Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C., as a senior scientist in 2000. He has held management positions for numerous NASA science projects and programs. Hertz was an astrophysicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory before joining NASA. He has received numerous honors, including the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award.

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