Dr. Paul Hertz, Chief Scientist

Dr. Paul HertzPaul Hertz is Chief Scientist for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Dr. Hertz manages Directorate level science activities including the solicitation, evaluation, and selection process for SMD, the SMD Science Management Council, and SMD's research policies and procedures. He is the Directorate lead for Agency-wide science activities including grants activities, peer review services, and postdoctoral and graduate student fellowship programs. In 2004-2007 he served as Chief Scientist for SMD, serving three Associate Administrators.

Dr. Hertz joined the NASA Office of Space Science as a Senior Scientist in 2000. In 2001-2004 he served as Theme Scientist for the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Theme as well as Senior Scientist in the Astronomy and Physics Division. During that period, he led the formulation of the Beyond Einstein Initiative. He also served as Program Executive for the Chandra X-ray Observatory and moderated several Space Science Updates including the announcement in 2003 of a black hole powering the lowest note ever detected in the universe (57 octaves below Middle C) and in 2004 of a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. In 2000-2001 Dr. Hertz served as Senior Scientist for Space Science Research in the Research Program Management Division where he managed the mission operations and data analysis program for the Office of Space Science. As Program Executive for Solar System Exploration missions, he conducted the first Senior Review for Solar System Exploration missions. He also served as SOFIA Program Scientist and as Discovery Program Scientist. In 1997-1999, Dr. Hertz served a two year detail at NASA Headquarters.

Dr. Hertz served as the Explorer Program Scientist for 6 years (1998-2004). During that period, he issued 4 Explorer Announcements of Opportunity, received 163 proposals, conducted 21 site visits, and presided over the downselection of 8 Explorers and 3 Missions of Opportunity for flight (of which 3 have been launched successfully, 1 has been launched unsuccessfully, and 4 have been terminated as of August 2007). Developing cost-capped space missions is a tough business.

Dr. Hertz holds bachelor degrees in physics and mathematics from MIT, and he received his masters and doctorate degrees in astronomy from Harvard University. After a two year National Research Council fellowship, he joined the staff of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1985 as an astrophysicist, a position he held until 2000. Dr. Hertz's research concentrated on x-ray emission from galactic neutron stars, black holes, and globular clusters. He authored or co-authored over 100 papers, including observational papers in every band of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma ray as well as theory and computation papers. From 1993-2001 he was Associate Professor of Computational Sciences and Space Sciences at George Mason University. Dr. Hertz is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the American Astronomical Society, the International Astronomical Union, and the Society for American Baseball Research. He is a recipient of the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, the Robert J. Trumpler Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Alan Berman Research Publication Award of the Naval Research Laboratory (twice), 3 NASA Group Achievement Awards, and 3rd place in the Naval Research Laboratory's Science as Art contest.

Dr. Hertz is married with three children. He has a passion for baseball which he exercises by leading his coworkers on annual treks to attend games at Orioles Park and RFK Stadium. In 2004, Dr. Hertz met the Orioles Bird when he was honored by the Baltimore Orioles as a "Heavy Hitter." In 2006, he made his Broadway debut as Contestant #28 in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."