The SETI Institute lands topnotch NASA talent as Director

(Mountain View, CA) More than two decades after the SETI Institute was founded in 1984, Frank Drake, the long-time Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in the Universe, has announced a successor, David Morrison.

Morrison joins the SETI Institute staff as the Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in the Universe. Appropriately, Carl Sagan’s first doctoral student [David Morrison] is now in a unique position to revisit his original roots and succeed legendary SETI pioneer and mentor Frank Drake, who is retiring and now joins the SETI Institute Board of Directors.

Dr. Morrison is a leading space scientist and science manager. In addition to his new job at the SETI Institute, he retains (part time) his previous position at NASA Ames Research Center, where he is Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist for Astrobiology. Previously, Morrison served as Director of Space at NASA Ames, and before that as Professor and Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Morrison is internationally known for his research on small bodies in the solar system, and he has published more than 155 technical papers and a dozen books, including five university-level textbooks.

Morrison has been a long-time supporter of the SETI Institute, dating back to 1988 when he first arrived in the Bay-Area: “The SETI Institute has partnered with scientists at NASA Ames in a teaming arrangement that has greatly benefited both organizations. The Institute played an especially important role in the development of the new multidisciplinary field of astrobiology. I always hoped that I would eventually find a way to work more directly with them”, said Morrison.

At the Carl Sagan Center, the staff focuses on a wide set of disciplines ranging from observing and modeling the precursors of life in the depths of outer space to studies of Earth, where we are attempting to learn more about how life began and how its many diverse forms have survived and evolved. The Carl Sagan Center boasts a wide range of research and projects that attract a large, multi-talented staff with diverse backgrounds and scientific specialties, creating an ideal environment for some of today’s most innovative work in the science world.

“There are many outstanding space scientists and astrobiologists in the Carl Sagan Center, and our leadership role in the study of life in the universe is sure to grow”, says Morrison. 

Research Thrust: 

About SETI Institute

Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research and education organization whose mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe. Our research encompasses the physical and biological sciences and leverages expertise in data analytics, machine learning and advanced signal detection technologies.  The Institute is a distinguished research partner for industry, academia and government agencies, including NASA and NSF.