Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen serves as NASA’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate. He is responsible for NASA’s Science Program, including Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics, with a total budget of approximately $7B/yr. With this program and a diverse set of leaders, he is helping to answer some of humanity’s biggest questions: How did we get here? Are we alone? And how does the universe work? Growing up in Switzerland, Dr. Zurbuchen was a keen observer of the natural world from an early age and received a public education with a master’s degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Bern. His science and leadership career focused on solar, heliospheric, and planetary instrumentation and data analysis as a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he taught space science, aerospace engineering, and innovation-focused classes. He also guided several University of Michigan innovation initiatives in education and research, one of which was recognized as the top-ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program nationally. He joined NASA in 2016. His honors include induction as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the 2018 Heinrich-Greinacher prize from the University of Bern. Dr. Zurbuchen engages people worldwide with NASA’s work and the inspiration of science. He can be found on Twitter @Dr_ThomasZ.