We choose science as an evocation, not a vocation. We should bring to our work our intelligence,
creativity, energy and integrity. Our work should bring us pleasure and satisfaction,
not teeth grinding and sleepless nights. How can we invest in our culture and,
our leadership to make this happen? How can scientific values guide us in this endeavor?
I will discuss the roles that culture, leadership and values play in bringing out the best in both individuals and teams, and conversely, the price paid for ignoring the role of culture and the impacts of leadership, and the importance of the scientific values of merit. This discussion is based on 15 years of managing some of NASA's largest scientific programs, both at NASA Headquarters, where I was the Astrophysics Division Director (sometimes title "Director of the Universe"), and at Goddard Space Flight Center, where I was Division Director for the Solar System Exploration Division (Director of the Solar System).
While NASA missions, science operations and scientific research require large teams, versus the individual work done by scientists in Astronomical Departments, large projects are becoming ever more important and more common for all of Astronomy. For example, the instruments for large telescopes are now approximately the same size of small space based missions, but have much larger budgets than the earlier epochs of ground based instrumentation. These group efforts require extra attention to the culture, leadership, and stated values of astronomical organization of all sorts.
Starting August 3, I proudly began my new role of Chief Scientist for the Keck Observatory.