MEET THE NEWEST "BOILERMAKER"-France Cordova. The astrophysicist and current chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, becomes the next president of Purdue later this year. Cordova, 59, will be the first woman to lead Purdue, an Indiana public university and a Big 10 school named for industrialist John Purdue. Cordova was selected because of her background in science and administration, noted a statement from the trustees. In her first address at Purdue she called the university a "cradle of astronauts" and recalled how the impact of Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon shaped her fascination with the larger "mysteries of the universe."
Prior to launching an academic career, Cordova was a scientific adviser to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the chief liaison between NASA and the broader scientific community. She followed her doctorate in physics at the California Institute of Technology in 1979 with work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She later moved on to Pennsylvania State University to head the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. She was the vice chancellor for research and a professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara before becoming chancellor at Riverside. -J.M.A.
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