Alan Stern [BS, PhD]
Education: PhD Astrophysics and Planetary Science from UC Boulder
Experience: Executive Director Southwest Research Institute, NASA Associate
Administrator Science Mission Directorate
Current Position: authored or co-authored over 100 scientific papers
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Stern
<i>...guaranteed SMD would collapse...</i>
I definitely give Stern a break on smarts and ability. He is a highly accomplished space scientist. Plus, he is a great individual to work with.
I certainly disagree with the comment that SMD is collapsing. If anything, it is the crown jewel of NASA and keeps demonstrating it to this day.
Too much like Griffin, and would probably continue most of the same policies, albeit with more cost control. Has many ties with personnel at NASA Marshall that could lead us down yet more ratholes.
Stern has 5 degrees-- BA in Astronomy, BS in Physics, MS in Aero, MS in Civil Engineering, and PhD in Astrophysics. He left NASA on principle because Griffin's decision overruling him on cost control guaranteed SMD would collapse and--as he has said--he would not be a party to that, nor be left holding the bag. His departure cost him dearly personally, give him a break.
He left NASA too early. SMD is collapsing now that he has left. Perfect choice to run the place.
Alan Stern has been willing to confront the tough issues on ballooning project budgets for existing projects squeezing out new and innovative projects in the SMD, and ultimately it may have cost him his job. I would like to see NASA actually have a healthy and innovative series of science projects in the pipeline, even if that means some working projects have to end before the probes die.