Kinney Named Chief Scientist at Keck

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Anne Kinney has been appointed Chief Scientist of the W.M. Keck Observatory, a role that will go into effect on Aug. 3.

Kinney will join Keck Observatory after holding a post at NASA, where she was the Director of the Solar System Exploration Division at Goddard Space Flight Center. She has been in the realm of scientific research for more than 30 years, and is well experienced in organizational leadership.

“We are delighted to welcome Anne as the Chief Scientist of Keck Observatory,” said observatory Director, Hilton Lewis. “In this new role, she will be responsible for stewardship of the observatory’s scientific programs and for ensuring the health and vibrancy of the science conducted at this observatory.”

With a PhD in Physics and Astronomy from  New York University, Kinney is also familiar with Keck Observatory as a member of the observatory’s Science Steering Committee since 2012.


“It is my great pleasure to be joining the stellar Keck Observatory team,” Kinney said. “For me, one of the great attractions is the quality and dedication of the team. Keck Observatory’s international reputation speaks to the remarkable focus that the staff brings to extracting peak performance from two telescopes that are as beautiful as they are cutting edge.”

Before serving at Goddard, Kinney held the position of Director of the Universe Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, with a portfolio including Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, SOFIA, and Fermi.

As an expert in extragalactic astronomy, Kinney has published 80 papers in refereed journals, ranging from quasars, blazars, active galaxies and normal galaxies, and signatures of accretion disks in active galaxies. In addition, she has demonstrated that accretion disks in the center of active galaxies lie at random angles relative to their host galaxies.


In 2012, Kinney received the Presidential Rank Award. She has also been awarded two Exceptional Leadership Awards at NASA and participated as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

“I am thrilled that Anne has agreed to join us and contribute her energy and expertise to advance WMKO’s leadership in ground-based astronomy,” Lewis said.

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