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Kimberly A. Weaver


Kimberly A. Weaver

A native of Morgantown, W.Va., Dr. Kimberly Ann Weaver received her undergraduate degree in physics from West Virginia University in 1987 and her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1993.

She became interested in science as a child growing up in the mountains, where she spent many evenings lying outside under clear and dark skies and pondering tiny specks of starlight. Today, Dr. Weaver is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a noted national and international expert in the field of x-ray astronomy. Her primary area of astronomy research is space-based observations of black holes and galaxies. She has published more than 80 professional science publications so far during her career and has collaborated with scientists from all over the world, including England, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.

After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Weaver moved on to postgraduate work at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa., and then to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., where she is an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She mentors graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and many of her students continue on to successful careers in both astronomy and education/public outreach.

In 1996, she won a Presidential Early Career Award for her work in x-ray astrophysics. This award is given yearly by the White House and is designed to recognize and honor outstanding scientists and engineers at the outset of their research careers. That same year she also participated in a NASA advisory panel to determine key science questions to be pursued as part of the Space Science Enterprise Strategic Plan for 2000 and beyond for the NASA Office of Space Science.

Dr. Weaver returned to Goddard in 1998 to continue her career and where she oversees programs at both Goddard and at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She has assumed a number of leadership and professional roles, most recently serving as associate director for science in the Astrophysics Division at Goddard. She spent two years at NASA Headquarters as the program scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope and previously served as the deputy project scientist for NASA’s future Constellation-X telescope mission (now renamed the International X-ray Observatory). In 2003 Dr. Weaver led the science efforts for a NASA’s approval of technology readiness for Constellation-X.

She has been a strong advocate for the field of science, and served as the science liaison to NASA HQ public affairs for the Astrophysics Division where she facilitated astronomy press conferences for NASA, several of which were significant and ranked among the highest in 2005 for NASA in terms of news coverage for science.

Dr. Weaver also serves as a science commentator and public speaker. She has presented more than 30 public lectures and served as an expert on the subject of black holes, galaxy clusters and dark energy. In addition to authoring popular science articles, she also wrote a well-received book—“The Violent Universe: Joyrides Through the X-ray Cosmos.”

She has appeared in national and international television documentaries to discuss the science of astronomy, including NOVA: Hunting the Edge of Space: The Story of the Telescope (2010), Naked Science: Hawking’s Universe (Nat. Geo. TV – 2009), Hubble’s Amazing Universe (Nat. Geo. TV – 2008), Naked Science: Death of the Universe (Nat. Geo. TV – 2008), and Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe (BBC America – 2007).

Dr. Weaver has received numerous professional and service awards, including the Alumni Recognition Award from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, which acknowledges graduates who have made significant contributions to their field and whose lives and careers exemplify the best traditions of a liberal arts and sciences education, and the University of Maryland Astronomy Department’s Distinguished Alumna award. In 2009, she received the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for her work in public relations and public outreach.

During her time at WVU, Dr. Weaver served two seasons as the field commander for the “Pride of West Virginia” Mountaineer Marching Band. She was honored with the title of Ms. Mountaineer in 1986, and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma honorary band service fraternity/sorority. She served as president of the Society of Physics Students and was elected a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma (physics), Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa honoraries. She also was a university honors scholar.

Dr. Weaver is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society and the International Astronomical Union.

She and her husband, Jack, live in Silver Spring, Md.