Washington, D.C. – Science Philanthropy Alliance President Dr. France A. Córdova recently participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Inaugural Mani L. Bhaumik Breakthrough of the Year Award Presentation and Fireside Chat held at the AAAS Washington, D.C. headquarters on May 3, 2023. The award honored three NASA luminaries: Major General Charles Frank Bolden Jr., USMC (Ret), John Mather, senior project scientist of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) since 1995, and Bill Ochs, JWST project manager from 2011 through the telescope’s launch.
Dr. Córdova co-moderated the Fireside Chat along with Dr. Holden Thorp, Editor in Chief of the Science family of journals, leading a discussion with award winners Bolden, Mather, and Ochs about their experiences with the JWST project.
As noted in the AAAS announcement, the award selection committee sought to acknowledge not only the winners’ contributions but also the teams they inspired whose collective work has provided a completely different view of the universe.
“The James Webb Space Telescope was a transformative project that opened a window to the universe’s origins and strengthened our connection to the cosmos. This groundbreaking effort was a triumph of discovery science, engineering, teamwork, and leadership. I was delighted to celebrate these three outstanding pioneers,” said Dr. Córdova.
Dr. Córdova previously served as NASA’s chief scientist, representing NASA to the larger scientific community. She was the youngest person and first woman to serve as NASA’s chief scientist and was awarded the agency’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.
Founded in 2013, the Science Philanthropy Alliance works to advance scientific discovery through visionary philanthropy. By providing advising services for philanthropists, foundations, and platforms that catalyze connection, awareness, and learning, the Alliance strengthens philanthropic support for science to make it more impactful and effective in advancing scientific discovery that benefits society and the planet. Discover more at https://sciencephilanthropyalliance.org/.