University of Delaware

04/24/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/24/2024 12:47

NASA Science Chief invites all to ‘do NASA science’

NASA Science Chief invites all to 'do NASA science'

Article by Beth MillerPhotos by Kathy F. Atkinson and Evan KrapeApril 24, 2024

Nicky Fox shares joy of NASA discoveries and UD research partnerships during April 18 visit

Nicola "Nicky" Fox doesn't actually remember seeing astronaut Neil Armstrong take humanity's first walk on the surface of the moon. But she knows she was a witness. Her father had taken her from her crib and propped her up in front of the television to be sure his 8-month-old daughter could see the amazing feat.

Her dad planted a fascination with space in his daughter, and now Fox is chief of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, with jurisdiction over more than 140 missions exploring just about everything in the known universe - from distant galaxies to the bottom of the sea, from massive stars to subatomic particles.

Her path to leadership in the world's largest space agency took many turns along the way, including encounters with "imposter syndrome." But she brought a clear and direct message to the University of Delaware community during a daylong visit Thursday, April 18, inviting everyone to "do NASA science."

Fox, an expert in space plasma physics, is keen to share the joys of NASA research with everyone - from the UD scientists and engineers working on scores of projects with direct relevance to NASA missions to "citizen scientists" - volunteers who just want to be part of it all.

"Science is for everybody," she said during a whirlwind tour of UD, which started at the Delaware Space Grant Consortium's annual symposium and included visits to four labs, presentations by 10 researchers, a public lecture and "fireside chat" with UD President Dennis Assanis, an informal "ask-me-anything" meeting with physics and astronomy students, and finally, the Vernon Lecture, a public event presented by the Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory at UD's Clayton Hall.