NSF Director France A. Córdova to Deliver 2019 Investiture Address

April 9, 2019

Córdova will also receive Thayer's highest honor—the Robert Fletcher Award

France A. Córdova, prominent astrophysicist and the current director of the National Science Foundation, will deliver the keynote address at the school’s Investiture ceremony and has been named this year's recipient of Thayer School of Engineering’s highest honor—the Robert Fletcher Award.


France Córdova

Named for the founding director and the first professor of engineering at Thayer, the Robert Fletcher Award is given annually in recognition of distinguished scientific achievement and service in the highest tradition of the school. 

In addition to the Fletcher Award, Córdova will also receive an honorary degree from Dartmouth at its 2019 Commencement, held the day after Thayer’s Investiture on June 9.

Córdova is an astrophysicist and the 14th director of the National Science Foundation, the government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Córdova’s scientific contributions have been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on X-ray and gamma ray sources, and space-borne instrumentation. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Women in Science.

Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University and chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. She was the vice chancellor for research and a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previously, Córdova served as NASA’s chief scientist.

Prior to joining NASA, she was on the faculty of Pennsylvania State University, where she headed the department of astronomy and astrophysics. Córdova was also deputy group leader in the Earth and space sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She received her bachelor of arts degree from Stanford University and her doctorate in physics from the California Institute of Technology.

Córdova is married to Christian J. Foster, a science educator, and they have two adult children.