Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

Tuning Out the Naysayers

MAKERS Moment

Tuning Out the Naysayers

More From France

Watch in Cinema View

In this video

Córdova talks about dealing with critics.

France's Biography

Charity of Choice: Smithsonian
Biggest Influence Never Met: Einstein
Three Words to Describe Herself: Energetic, analytical, and inquisitive 
Proudest Accomplishment: “That I've lived a life of integrity, that I've been true to myself, and as fair and honest to others as I am able to be.”

France A. Córdova, an internationally recognized astrophysicist, once said, “I didn’t have a strategic plan for my life. I have an appetite for discovery. I’m an explorer and I follow my best instincts.” Indeed, those instincts propelled Córdova to become the youngest person and first female chief scientist at NASA.
Córdova's prolific scientific contributions include more than 200 journal articles and reports, as well as numerous critical space-borne instrumentation experiments. Her equally formidable career in academia includes five years as head of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University, eight years as a professor of physics and vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara, as well as her position as chancellor and distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside. She joined Purdue as the university's first woman president and a Professor of Physics and Astronomy in 2007, serving through July 2012. She is currently the President Emerita.
 
Córdova graduated cum laude from Stanford University, and went on to earn her PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology. Throughout her career, Córdova has received numerous awards and honors including 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." In addition to serving on a myriad of boards, she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Women in Science, and has received presidential appointments, including one by George W. Bush to the National Science Board in 2008, and another in 2009 by Barack Obama to the Smithsonian's Board of Regents, to which she was subsequently elected as chair.

Related Videos

Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Conservative Activist

Phyllis Schlafly was 28 years old when she ran a 1952 long-shot Congressional campaign in Illinois’ 24th district. Though she failed to win the seat, the effort announced her...

Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
First Female Secretary of State

The Washington Post recently asked Madeleine Albright about her place in history. “I have to laugh,” said America’s first female Secretary of State. She remembere...

Leila Janah
Leila Janah
Global Economic Advocate

Leila Janah is Founder and CEO of Samasource, a nonprofit that connects people living in poverty to work, through using the Internet. Janah first developed the idea while working a...

Priya Haji
Priya Haji
Social Innovator

// Priya Haji passed away at the age of 44 on July 14, 2014. Prior to her passing, she spoke with MAKERS about her career and passion for social innovation. // By the age of 16, P...