From writing about heartthrobs with the LA Times to leading NASA’s scientific endeavours, Dr France A Córdova has seen it all.

Dr France A Córdova, now the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, was the the first female chief scientist of NASA.

A recipient of NASA’s highest honour, the Distinguished Service Medal, she was also recognised as a Kilby Laureate for her “significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education”.

However, physics, or science of any regard, was far from her first calling.

Majoring in English initially, Córdova began working for the LA Times, “as a copygirl, in the days when there was copy. Now, in the electronic age, that job doesn’t exist!”

Writing, editing and reporting on “teenage heartthrobs”, Córdova’s shift towards science came on the back of simply watching a documentary.

At Inspirefest 2017, she explained her work in various industries, and how she made history in the progress.

Words by Gordon Hunt