Cynthia Atherton has been a program director for the Science Program since 2010. She leads the $300 million Caltech and the $250 million Thirty Meter Telescope commitments. She also serves as lead on a variety of Science “standalone” grants in areas as far-ranging as Astrophysics, Geology, Condensed Matter Physics, Remote Sensing, and Sustainable Energy Technology, and helps to define new areas of interest for Foundation science investments. Prior to this, she was the senior program officer for Science at the Moore Foundation from 2008-2010.
Before joining the Foundation, Cynthia worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Chemistry, Materials, and Life Sciences Directorate.She served as principal investigator for numerous projects, and developed, ran and analyzed global atmospheric computer simulations to understand the role of energy-based emissions on the troposphere and stratosphere. Cynthia has published numerous journal articles and invited book chapters on her work, and presented them in talks nationally and internationally. She also developed and co-chaired a biweekly atmospheric science seminar series. Cynthia served on the National Research Council Committee on Atmospheric Chemistry from 1999-2001.
Cynthia also has extensive community service and volunteer experience, leading wilderness adventures and serving as a counselor for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in Northern California, and teaching after-school science to elementary students.
Cynthia earned her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of California, Davis, M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology.