Chief Scientist at Keck Observatory Appointed to NSF

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Kinney, Chief Scientist at Keck Observatory, will take a new position at the National Science Foundation next year.

W. M. Keck Observatory Chief Scientist Anne Kinney has been appointed to the National Science Foundation (NSF) as director of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), the organization’s largest department. In her new position, Kinney will lead federal investments in astronomy, chemistry, physics, materials science and mathematics.

“We are thrilled for Anne to be a part of the NSF leadership team is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Keck Observatory Director Hilton Lewis. “While we will certainly miss Anne’s leadership at Keck, we are proud that someone from the Keck Observatory will play such an influential role in advancing the United States’ scientific aspirations. Anne’s distinguished career as a scientist and her successful track record in organizational leadership will serve her well in her new position.”

“It has been a huge honor to work with Keck Observatory’s scientific community,” said Kinney. “I have so much admiration and respect for the employees who work tirelessly around the clock to make sure each astronomer has a successful night of observing. This job has prepared me with valuable insight on how an observatory operates; the kind of visibility needed to understand the many facilities that NSF supports. I can’t thank Hilton Lewis enough for welcoming me to Keck Observatory – it has been a great privilege working with him and the entire staff.”


Kinney has served as Keck Observatory’s Chief Scientist since August 2015, making significant contributions. Her efforts have led to a five-year agreement with NASA to continue scientific collaboration on space-based astronomy missions. Under the agreement, Keck Observatory will support upcoming NASA missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

Before working at Keck Observatory, Kinney served as director at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Solar System Exploration Division. She was the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award in 2012, a two-time recipient of the NASA Exceptional Leadership Award, and was awarded the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership.

“Kinney has successfully brought together researchers, educators, students and other partners time and again to support significant scientific and engineering feats,” said NSF Director France Cordova. “I am thrilled to welcome her to the NSF leadership team, where her skills and experience will help us maintain our position in keeping the U.S. at the forefront of scientific and technological excellence.”
“I am excited to work with NSF, an organization that lives and breathes science,” said Kinney. “I am grateful to France Cordova for the confidence she has shown me, and I look forward to working with my scientific colleagues as I expand my own expertise in NSF’s broad portfolio of fundamental research.”


Kinney will begin in her new position at NSF next year.

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