The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen David Southwood, a space physicist at Imperial College in London, United Kingdom, to lead its scientific operations. Southwood, 55, was elected director of science at a meeting of ESA's council in Paris today.
Southwood's scientific credentials include developing the strategy for the scientific part of ESA's Earth observation program and the design of the magnetometer on board NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which is orbiting Jupiter. He's also the principal investigator of the magnetometer of Cassini, which will reach Saturn in 2004. As for management, he has chaired ESA's Science Programme Committee and the agency's Space Science Advisory Committee. "He knows ESA very well," comments Johan Bleeker of the Space Research Organization Netherlands. Combined with his science background, this has earned him "the full trust of the scientific community," Bleeker says.
Southwood will start his first 4-year term on 1 May 2001. He succeeds Roger-Maurice Bonnet, 61, who headed science at ESA for the past 17 years.