If you follow NASA’s many interplanetary and orbital missions, you’re no doubt familiar with Thomas Zurbuchen, the agency’s associate administrator of science. He also oversees NASA’s science program with a total budget approaching $7 billion a year.
That’s a mighty big number, but there’s an even bigger reason why we’re thrilled that Dr. Zurbuchen will join us onstage at TC Sessions: Space on December 6 in Los Angeles.
Zurbuchen is responsible for NASA’s science program, which includes earth science, heliophysics, planetary science and astrophysics. The program is helping to answer some of humanity’s biggest origin questions.
A keen observer of the natural world from an early age in Switzerland, Zurbuchen received a master’s degree and a doctorate of physics degree from the University of Bern. As a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — where he taught classes in space science, aerospace engineering and innovation — he focused on solar, heliospheric and planetary instrumentation and data analysis.
He led several University of Michigan innovation initiatives in both education and research, one of which led to the top-ranked national undergraduate entrepreneurship program. Zurbuchen joined NASA in 2016, and he engages people worldwide with the agency’s work and the inspiration of science.
In a conversation called “Asking and Answering Humanity’s Biggest Questions,” Zurbuchen will discuss the kind of elusive questions he, his program, and a diverse group of other leaders strive to answer: Where did we come from? Are we alone? How does the universe work?
These questions and the answers — and the science behind finding them — are more important than ever as the space economy develops, as collaboration between governments and private commercial space companies increases and as geopolitical conflict continues to impact national security.
We’re excited to hear Zurbuchen’s perspective on how NASA — its mission and the science it performs — is evolving. Will this evolution affect the potential for discovering answers to the big, cosmic questions facing our collective humanity?
We should note that Zurbuchen, who has served in this position longer than anyone else, recently announced his retirement. You can be sure we’ll ask what’s next for him. Be in the room for what’s sure to be a fascinating discussion.
TC Sessions: Space takes place on December 6 in Los Angeles. Buy your pass today, join us to learn about the latest space economy trends, see cutting-edge technology and network for opportunities to help you build a better, stronger startup.
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