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With Thomas Zurbuchen (ex-Administrator for Science Mission, NASA), Natalie Wolchover (Editor, Quanta Mag).
Fri, Mar 17, 2023 @ 06:00 PM   FREE   Simons Foundation, 160 5th Ave

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NASA has been at the forefront of space exploration & discovery since its establishment in 1958. From the Apollo moon landings to the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's most legendary achievements started by asking the right questions.

As the leader of NASA's Science Mission Directorate from 2016 to 2022, Thomas Zurbuchen identified questions that would bring us closer to answering some of humanity's biggest mysteries: How did the universe begin? How is the universe evolving?

During his tenure, Zurbuchen led some of the agency's most notable missions, including overseeing two Mars landings & the 2021 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is now facilitating groundbreaking cosmological research.

Zurbuchen will sit down for a conversation with science journalist Natalie Wolchover of Quanta Magazine. Wolchover has spent much of her career covering space exploration. She recently won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for an article about the complexities of building the James Webb Space Telescope.

Join Zurbuchen & Wolchover as they chat about NASA's contributions to science & some of the most exciting questions driving the agency's scientific research efforts today.


Wolchover is a senior editor at Quanta Magazine covering the physical sciences. She also has bylines in Nature,, Popular Science & other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in physics from Tufts University, studied graduate-level physics at the University of California, Berkeley, & co-authored several academic papers in nonlinear optics. Her writing has been featured in The Best American Science & Nature Writing & The Best Writing on Mathematics. In addition, she has won several awards, including the 2016 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award & the American Institute of Physics' 2017 Science Communication Award for Articles.

Zurbuchen served as associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate from 2016 to 2022 - the longest such tenure in NASA's history. He was previously a professor of space science & aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. Zurbuchen is the founder of the highly-ranked Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a fellow & a member of the International Academy of Astronautics & the Swiss Academy of Technology & Science. In addition, he is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Zurbuchen is the winner of multiple prizes & awards, including the Presidential Rank Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal & the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Photo credit: NASA

This event is 18+
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Limited seating is available for this in-person event & is on a first-come, first-served basis
All attendees must be pre-registered & walk-in entry will be denied
Please note that by entering the Simons Foundation buildings, you are attesting that you are not experiencing COVID symptoms & are not knowingly positive for COVID.


5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. In Conversation

7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Reception

If alcohol is served at this event, event organizers reserve the right to refuse to serve guests who are not of legal drinking age or who appear to be intoxicated.
The Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act & offers accessible seating to visitors with special access needs.
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