Head of the Directorate for Mathematical Sciences
Dr. Kinney has served as head of the Directorate for Mathematical Sciences (MPS) since January 2018. MPS supports fundamental research in astronomy, chemistry, physics, materials science and mathematics. Dr. Kinney has more than 30 years of leadership and management experience in the astronomical community. Prior to joining NSF, she served as chief scientist at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which hosts the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes. At Keck, she served as a liaison to the global scientific community, acting as an ambassador to the observatory’s entire user community.
Dr. Kinney previously held multiple positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center — most recently as Director of the Solar System Exploration Division, leading and managing a team of more than 350 people. Before moving to Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Kinney was director of the Universe Division at NASA Headquarters. She oversaw successful space missions that included the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer. An expert in extragalactic astronomy, Kinney has published more than 80 papers on quasars, blazars, active galaxies and normal galaxies, and signatures of accretion disks in active galaxies. Her research showed that accretion disks in the center of active galaxies lie at random angles relative to their host galaxies. Kinney has a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in astrophysics from New York University. She studied in Denmark for several years at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.