On February 15, 2022, the SSL community enjoyed a visit from the NASA Science Mission Directorate Associate Administrator, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, who spent the afternoon at SSL as part of a trip to UC Berkeley and NASA Ames.  Following a luncheon on campus, SSL Director Steve Beckwith brought Thomas up to the lab, where he was given a tour of our facilities with SSL researchers giving updates on a sampling of exciting projects. There were a dozen tour stops, including the MOC, high bay and various labs in the Addition and Silver buildings. He was joined by other special visitors: Ames Director Eugene Tu, Michelle Moskowitz from the Chancellor’s Office, and congressional staffers from the offices of Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Lee, and Alex Padilla. Remarked Steve Beckwith, “The tour was really great, with a chance for many people to show him what they are doing and the value of what NASA is supporting.” Zurbuchen then spent time in the conference room with SSL researchers, and was especially eager to speak with early career scientists. Following that, he returned to campus to give a 4 pm lecture entitled “Treasures Unknown,” about imagining the future, innovating solutions and working with great teams. That evening, he was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by SSL graduate students drawn from the Lin Fellows. Zurbuchen tweeted later, “Speaking to the future generation always reminds me of why we are doing the work here in #NASAScience. Thank you @UCBerkeley for an amazing visit. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to visit again.”

Briefly unmasked in the SSL Mission Ops Center L to R: Justin Pedroso (Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office), Dan Cosgrove (SSL), Mark Lewis (SSL), Abhi Tripathi (SSL), Zahra Hajee (Sen. Alex Padilla’s office), Thomas Zurbuchen (NASA), Bea Dinsmore (Cong. Barara Lee’s office), Valerie Lobato (SSL), Eugene Tu (NASA Ames), Bryce Roberts (SSL), Karin Hauck (SSL). Photo by Christopher Scholz (SSL)
Thomas Zurbuchen listens intently at one of the SSL tour stops in Silver. Photo by Christopher Scholz (SSL)