Astrophysicist Named Purdue's 1st Woman President

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An internationally recognized astrophysicist was named yesterday as the 11th president of Purdue University and the first woman to hold the post.

Cordova.jpgFollowing a seven-month search, France Córdova was appointed by Purdue's board of trustees Monday as the first woman president since the university's founding in 1869.  She is currently chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, where she also teaches astrobiology. Córdova replaces the retiring Martin C. Jischke; her start date has yet to be determined.

After earning her doctorate in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1979, Córdova spent the next decade at Los Alamos National Laboratory with the Space Astronomy and Astrophysics Group. She then headed Penn State University's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

In 1993, she began work at NASA, serving as the primary scientific adviser to the NASA administrator and the principal interface between NASA headquarters and the broader scientific community. She was the youngest person to hold the position of NASA chief scientist, working on projects that included the Hubble Space Telescope. She later served as vice chancellor for research and a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Córdova's scientific work has been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multispectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources, and space-borne instrumentation. Her multispectral approach uses telescopes on the ground and in space to approach a more comprehensive understanding of cosmic sources of radiation. She has published more than 150 scientific papers and reports and has a current experiment flying on the European Space Agency's X-Ray Multi-Mirror Mission.

She is the winner of NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a 2000 Kilby Laureate for "contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education." Córdova is a member of numerous professional associations and serves on the boards of directors of several educational institutions.

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Published: May 2007
The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
gamma ray
The spontaneous emittance of electromagnetic radiation by the nucleus of certain radioactive elements during their quantum transition between two energy levels. The radiation emitted has a wavelength between 10-8 and 10-10 cm.
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
The emission and/or propagation of energy through space or through a medium in the form of either waves or corpuscular emission.
astronomyastrophysicistastrophysicsBasic ScienceCordovaEmploymentFrance Cordovagamma rayHubblemultispectralNASANews & FeaturesphotonicsPresidentPurdueradiationRiversidespacex-ray

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