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NASA Spitzer Space Telescope • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Spitzer Profile: Kim Weaver

Spitzer Program Scientist, NASA HQ

Kim Weaver
Kim Weaver

For people born before 1970, their key memory of NASA is the Apollo moon landing. This is true for me, but Apollo is imprinted on my mind in a unique way.

I was 5 years old on July 20, 1969, out on a Sunday drive with my family and anxious to get home to watch the moon landing. About an hour away from home we had stopped at a gas station and decided to visit a store across the highway. Taking my grandmother's hand, we began walking, but just as we made it to the other side, a car approached and, thinking he had to swerve to miss us, the driver ran into us, hitting my grandmother and me full force.

The next thing I remember I was lying in an ambulance, distraught that I would miss seeing astronauts walk on the moon. Later, from my hospital bed, I saw a replay of the landing on a small TV, but it wasn't the same. It didn't make up for having missed the live broadcast. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to work for NASA.

I was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I earned my B.S. degree from West Virginia University. I first came to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 1988 as a graduate student intern from the University of Maryland. My Ph.D. thesis research focused on X-ray observations of active galactic nuclei using data from the Broad-Band X-ray Telescope, which flew on the Space Shuttle. I spent two postdoctoral years at Penn State and two more at Johns Hopkins University before coming back to Goddard in 1998 as a civil servant scientist. At Goddard I continued research as an X-ray astronomer and worked on the Constellation-X project as the Deputy Project Scientist.

Kim Weaver as Elvira
"Elvira"

This past year I've been on detail at NASA Headquarters as the Spitzer Program Scientist. I help set policy, provide advice, and troubleshoot problems. I have been privileged to work with all of the marvelous people on the Spitzer team -- these are some of the best people I have known during my time at NASA. My Headquarters experience has also been tremendous in another way. It has given me the knowledge that my first instinct to come to NASA was right -- the dreams of a 5-year-old child are hard to shake. I would say to anyone not sure of their path in life to remember what stirred them in their youth.

Besides astronomy and NASA, my other passions include music and art. My main hobby is community theater and I enjoy acting, singing, and dancing as well as directing, producing, and designing (sets and costumes). In this photo I am playing one of my all-time favorite roles, as the ghost Elvira in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Theater provides a playground for my emotional and artistic side and is a wonderful outlet after a long day of hard work.



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