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The ASP announces that Chris Ford, former President of the Board of Directors, to serve as interim CEO replacing Linda Shore retiring after 10 years of leading the ASP


San Francisco, California – February 20, 2024

The ASP says goodbye to Linda Shore, CEO of the ASP as she retires after leading the ASP from 2014 to 2024. Shore came to the ASP after a 20-year career in informal science education at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, serving as the museum’s Senior Scientist, and the Director of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute.  As the first woman to be the ASP’s chief executive, Shore made it one of her major goals for the ASP to become actively involved in national efforts to make astronomy more inclusive. Her efforts also led to a more diverse leadership of the Board of Directors, the launch of the Arthur B.C. Walker II Award (launched in 2016) recognizing the accomplishments of African American astronomers in both research and diversity and the Nancy Grace Roman Award (launched in 2023) for achievement by individuals or groups in increasing gender equity in astronomy and related fields.  During her tenure at the ASP, she also spearheaded numerous initiatives, including the development of programs and resources to help professional astronomers improve how they communicate with and engage a wide range of public audiences as well as bringing astronomy learning experiences to elementary school classrooms designed to engage very young children in age-appropriate science thinking.  Shore will continue to work part time with the ASP on special projects as a Senior Advisor.  

In February 2024 the ASP welcomed Chris Ford as interim CEO of the ASP who will be instrumental in bringing continuity to the Society until the next CEO takes the helm.  A lifelong astronomer and astrophotographer, Ford joined the ASP Board of Directors in 2011 and served as President from 2017-2019. His background in visual media software development, product management, marketing, and business development, is extremely applicable to the ASP’s mission of communicating astronomy through educational experiences are delivered at the high levels of quality seen in today’s media.

Ford was previously a key participant in the computer graphics (CGI) revolution that since the 1990’s has transformed the world of the entertainment media and science communication. For 12-years he was Business Director at Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Co.) where he grew the studio's photorealistic RenderMan

technology to a dominant 70% market share of all feature films with rendered content. He has also held senior leadership positions at Prezi Inc, Roblox Corp, Autodesk, and at Alias|Wavefront (Silicon Graphics) where he helped deliver the well-known CGI content creation software Maya to market. Ford has been directly and indirectly associated with numerous well-known motion picture, planetaria, and educational experiences with astronomy themes. Media products under his management have been awarded three Scientific and Technical Academy Awards for technological innovation and he is credited in twelve feature films.  

About the ASP

The ASP is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to use astronomy to increase the understanding and appreciation of science and to advance science and science literacy. The ASP connects scientists, educators, amateur astronomers and the public together to learn about astronomical research, improve astronomy education, and share resources that engage learners of all kinds in the excitement and adventure of scientific discovery. Current ASP programs and initiatives support college faculty, K-12 science teachers, amateur astronomy clubs, science museums, libraries, park rangers, and girl scouts to name a few.