WASHINGTON, December 14, 2020 -- A Nobel laureate, a “father of the internet,” the first African American administrator of NASA, a former chief technology officer of one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national research laboratories, and a chemist who is the executive director of The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation -- these five renowned scientists are coming together to join the board of trustees for the AIP Foundation with France Córdova at its helm as founding chair.

AIP Foundation advances the charitable, scientific, and educational mission of the American Institute of Physics by generating philanthropic support of the institute and for its programs. John Mather, Vinton Cerf, Charles Bolden Jr., Julia Phillips, and Mark Cardillo were confirmed as additional members to the existing board of trustees, expanding the number to 12 members.

The new trustees were announced at the foundation’s recent public launch, which was commemorated with a 30-minute video featuring remarks from Córdova, New York Times journalist James Glanz, former astronaut and current chair of the National Science Board Ellen Ochoa, Mather, author and AIP Foundation trustee Nancy Greenspan, AIP board of directors chair David Helfand, and AIP CEO Michael Moloney.

The video featured interviews with students pursuing degrees in the physical sciences who have benefited from their involvement in and support from AIP’s Society of Physics Students. The launch focused on AIP’s world-class collection of rare books and other items that recount the history of physics and related sciences and on supporting a more diverse and welcoming physical sciences community.

The mission of the AIP Foundation is to build charitable support for AIP’s efforts to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. Fundraising priorities include the Center for History of Physics, the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, the Society for Physics Students, the physics honorary society Sigma Pi Sigma, and the institute’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.

“We have important work to do to attract students into the physical sciences, to preserve the rich history of science, and to stimulate interest nationwide -- even worldwide -- in the discoveries and benefits of the physical sciences,” said Córdova. “I thank the new and current board members for joining the effort in support of science and in support of the exciting treasures that are the programs of AIP. We intend to build stronger awareness of the institute and attract greater investment in it.”

“The importance of science is evident, and the road ahead looks to be an exciting one for us all to travel as we move forward together in this new enterprise,” said Cerf. “It is not only timely but now absolutely essential to rebuild awareness, trust, and interest in science and all that depends upon it at a time when appreciation for and understanding of science at large has eroded.”

“Our donors share a number of characteristics -- intellectual curiosity, a passion for learning, and desire to provide opportunities to new generations of scholars, researchers, and innovators,” said Moloney, a member of the board of trustees for AIP Foundation. “While preserving what we have learned in the past is important to our donors and our community, so is the idea of enriching the world and lending a hand to new generations who will follow. I am excited about the prospect of strengthening our connections to existing donors even while we build new bridges to those we hope to engage in the future.”

“On the threshold of AIP’s 90th anniversary in 2021, the foundation’s launch is an important moment in our history, and I am proud to be part of it,” said Tanya Easton, executive director of AIP Foundation. “I am excited to galvanize support for the mission of AIP and the scientific enterprise in partnership with our board of trustees and to amplify perspectives and voices advocating in support of science.”

AIP Foundation Board of Trustees (full bios found here)

New Members

Charles Frank Bolden, Jr.

12th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he served from 2009 to 2017; commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps; became a pilot and, between 1972 and 1973, flew more than 100 combat missions in the Vietnam War. During his time at NASA, Bolden made four spaceflights, the first of which was as the pilot of the STS-61C mission on the space shuttle Columbia, and served as commander of his next two spaceflights.

Mark Cardillo

A chemist who serves as executive director at The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; received a bachelor’s degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, and a doctorate in chemistry from Cornell University; elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987 "for pioneering applications of molecular beam techniques to the study of elastic, inelastic, and reactive gas-surface interactions.”

Vinton Cerf

Widely known as one of the "fathers of the internet," Cerf is the codesigner of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the internet. He served in executive positions at the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and on the faculty of Stanford University.  

John Mather

Winner of the Nobel Prize in physics for his precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation using the COBE satellite, Mather is a senior astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. As senior project scientist since 1995 for the James Webb Space Telescope, he leads the science team and represents scientific interests within the project management.

Julia Phillips

Phillips served as vice president and chief technology officer for Sandia National Laboratories, retiring from the laboratories in 2015 after nearly 20 years. In those positions, she led the laboratory’s internally funded research and development program, research strategy, and intellectual property protection and deployment. Phillips is a member of the National Science Board’s Class of 2022, and recently chaired the AIP expert panel that authored “Peril and Promise: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Physical Sciences.”

Existing Members

France Córdova, founding chair

Córdova has been a leader in science, engineering, and education for more than four decades. She has a distinguished career in both higher education and government, serving in five presidential administrations and at several universities and three federal agencies. Her contributions in multi-spectral research on X-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation have made her an internationally recognized astrophysicist. She was the first woman to become president of Purdue University and the first Latina chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. She also served as NASA's chief scientist (first woman and youngest person to hold this position) and is a recipient of the agency's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Merc Mercure

Cofounder of Ball Brothers Research Corporation, the predecessor of Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc. Cofounder and CEO of CDM Optics, Inc., purchased by OmniVision Technologies, Inc. Past director of several publicly traded companies, including Ball Corporation. Presently a director of several private companies as well as not-for-profit organizations.

Sandeep Giri

Google Machine Learning and AI. Career focus on technology development, materials engineering, fundamental analysis of manufacturing viability, and building end-to-end infrastructure. Firsthand experience solving audacious engineering problems in multiple industries and multiple countries, including Project LOON, a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, delivering connectivity to people in unserved and underserved communities around the world. Master’s degree from Stanford University in materials science and engineering; bachelor’s degree from Coe College in physics and mathematics.

Nancy Greenspan

A health economist and in the 1980s. Began a writing career as the co-author of four books with her husband, the late child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan. She is the author of two biographies, “The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born” (Basic Books, 2005) and the recently published “Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs” (Viking, May 2020). She has served on the boards of numerous environmental organizations and committees and boards of the American Institute of Physics.

Ray Johnson

Operating partner with Bessemer Venture Partners. International business and strategy consultant. Full Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and a fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

John Kent

A clinical medical physicist at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for more than 38 years, and a diplomate of the American Board of Radiology in Therapeutic Radiological Physics, a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and a fellow in Physics of the American College of Radiology. Recipient of the 2009 Gold Medal Award from the Indiana Radiological Society. Has served on the AIP investment advisory committee since 1996 and is currently serving as the institute’s treasurer and an at-large member of its board of directors.

Michael Moloney

Ninth CEO of the American Institute of Physics, a federation that advances the success of its 10 Member Societies and an independent institute that advances the discipline of the physical sciences. Previously, Moloney served as the director for space and aeronautics at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, where he spent more than 15 years working on over 100 reports across a diverse set of scientific, engineering, and technical fields. Moloney, originally from Ireland, spent seven years as an Irish foreign service officer. He earned his doctorate degree in physics from Trinity College Dublin.



The physical sciences are at the core of what we do. AIP Foundation is an independent not-for-profit corporation, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID #83-4485064), with the American Institute of Physics Inc. (AIP) as the sole member of the corporation. AIP Foundation was launched in 2020 to generate philanthropic support to deepen and share the history and importance of the physical sciences throughout the world, and to motivate and encourage a new generation of scientists. AIP Foundation provides support to four areas within the American Institute of Physics, focused on history programs, the library, student programs, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.


The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies. AIP pursues its mission -- to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity -- with a unifying voice of strength from diversity. In its role as a federation, AIP advances the success of its Member Societies by providing the means to pool, coordinate, and leverage their diverse expertise and contributions in pursuit of a shared goal of advancing the physical sciences in the research enterprise, in the economy, in education, and in society. In its role as an institute, AIP operates as a center of excellence using policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences.