Ellen Stofan is the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum. She is also the first female Director of the museum.
As the daughter of Andrew Stofan, a rocket engineer who worked for NASA, and as the former Chief Scientist of NASA herself, Stofan has a rich background in space science. When she began her tenure as Director of one of the great Smithsonian museums, the National Air and Space Museum, in April, 2018 she was the first woman in the role.
Stofan resigned from NASA in December 2016. Although she has confirmed she planned to resign before Donald Trump became president, she has lamented the subsequent barrage of misinformation in relation to climate change, despite the science being unequivocal.
She told The Guardian, “We are under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by people who have a profit motive. Fake news is so harmful because once people take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it.
“I’m always wondering if these people honestly believe the nonsense they put forward. When they say ‘It could be volcanoes’ or ‘the climate always changes’… to obfuscate and to confuse people, it frankly makes me angry.”
Previously, Stofan was vice president of Proxemy Research in Laytonsville, Maryland and an honorary professor in the Earth sciences department at the University College London.