David Silva, PhD, is a senior astronomer with extensive international experience. He has been Director of the National Science Foundation’s National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the U.S. national observatory for night-time optical-infrared astronomy, since 2008. Creating and leading science-driven teams who aspire to answer humanity’s most profound questions about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going in the cosmic context is what energizes David. His specific scientific research interests are in the general area of stars and stellar systems, especially as tracers for how galaxies formed and evolved over the last 13 billion years. His career has focused on the design, development, and operation of major publicly-funded, ground-based astronomical observatories for the research communities of Europe and the Americas. These projects have often included partners from Asia and Australia.
Originally from the East Coast, Dave has lived most of his adult life in the border lands of southern California and Arizona, a rich and complex mix of many cultures, especially Anglo and Mexican. He resided in southern Germany for nine years and travels to Chile several times per year. Dave is married to Paula Christianson-Silva, DNP, an Adult and Family Nurse Practitioner. Dave and Paula enjoy hiking, cycling, and skiing, especially with their two adult children.