Keck Observatory Names Chief Scientist

KAMUELA, Hawaii – W. M. Keck Observatory is very pleased to announce Anne Kinney has been appointed Chief Scientist, effective August 3, 2015.

“We are delighted to welcome Anne as the Chief Scientist of Keck Observatory,” said observatory Director, Hilton Lewis. “In this new role, she will be responsible for stewardship of the observatory’s scientific programs and for ensuring the health and vibrancy of the science conducted at this observatory.”

Kinney comes to Keck Observatory from NASA, where she was most recently the Director of the Solar System Exploration Division at Goddard Space Flight Center. Kinney brings more than 30 years of scientific research and organizational leadership experience. She holds a PhD from New York University in Physics and Astronomy and is very familiar with Keck Observatory as she has been a member of the observatory’s Science Steering Committee since 2012.

“It is my great pleasure to be joining the stellar Keck Observatory team,” Kinney said. “For me, one of the great attractions is the quality and dedication of its team. Keck Observatory’s international reputation speaks to the remarkable focus that the staff brings to extracting peak performance from two telescopes that are as beautiful as they are cutting edge.”

Prior to her service at Goddard, Kinney was the Director of the Universe Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, with a portfolio including Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, SOFIA, and Fermi.

Kinney is an expert in extragalactic astronomy and has published 80 papers in refereed journals on quasars, blazars, active galaxies and normal galaxies, and signatures of accretion disks in active galaxies. She has demonstrated that accretion disks in the center of active galaxies lie at random angles relative to their host galaxies.

Kinney received the Presidential Rank Award in 2012, has received two Exceptional Leadership Awards at NASA, and was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

“I am thrilled that Anne has agreed to join us and contribute her energy and expertise to advance WMKO’s leadership in ground-based astronomy,” Lewis said.

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.