In DepthQ&A

Earth science a ‘no-brainer’ for NASA's science chief

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  17 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6330, pp. 1112
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6330.1112

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

In October 2016, Thomas Zurbuchen took the reins of NASA's science directorate. A heliophysicist from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Zurbuchen grew up in a tiny Swiss village with more cows than people. Raised in a deeply religious family, he grew comfortable asking the hard questions: "Where am I from?" and "What's my purpose?" He could soon face more hard questions from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which is skeptical about the value of climate change research, much of it supported by NASA. After nearly 6 months on the job, Zurbuchen answers questions on the value of earth science, the role of risk, and how he talks to members of a polarized electorate.