First Women Director of Air and Space Museum talks about inspiring the next generation


Ellen Stofan, the first woman to lead the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum talks about the power of museums and how they attract the young scientists. The former chief scientist at NASA, Stofan is one of those scientists who supported commercial activity in the Earth’s lower orbit and has also worked on a long-term plan of sending humans to Mars. 

She has also visited many schools to encourage the students, especially those who belong to underrepresented groups to take science as careers. Also, before starting her new job, she spoke to the Scientific American about the Museum’s power and abilities to inspire the young scientists and to reverse attacks on science. 

[An edited excerpt of that conversation follows.]

How did the museum influence you as a child and in your early career?

Stofan said that she always found Museums an awe-inspiring place. She also gave an example of Wright brothers, where she mentioned that there is the significant difference between listening to the stories of