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Ralph J. Cicerone

President of the National Academy of Sciences and Chair of the National Research Council

Dr. Cicerone's research has focused on atmospheric chemistry, the radiative forcing of climate change due to trace gases, and the sources of atmospheric methane, nitrous oxide, and methyl halide gases. His scientific work has involved him in shaping science and environmental policy nationally and internationally. The Franklin Institute recognized his fundamental contributions to the understanding of greenhouse gases and ozone depletion and his public policy leadership in protecting the global environment with its 1999 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science.

In 2001, he led a National Academy of Sciences study of the current state of climate change, requested by President Bush. The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest society of earth scientists, awarded Dr. Cicerone its James B. Macelwane Award in 1979 for outstanding contributions to geophysics by a young scientist.

He served as AGU president (1992-1994) and was awarded AGU’s 2002 Roger Revelle Medal for outstanding research contributions to the understanding of Earth’s atmospheric processes, biogeochemical cycles, and key elements of the climate system. In 2004, the World Cultural Council honored him with the Albert Einstein World Award in Science.

Dr. Cicerone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  He is a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, Academia Sinica, the Real Academia de Ciencias, and the Royal Society.

Dr. Cicerone was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BSEE and captain of the baseball team) and the University of Illinois. He began his research career at the University of Michigan (1970-1978), where the Ralph J. Cicerone Distinguished University Professorship of Atmospheric Science was established in 2007. Dr. Cicerone continued his research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (1978-1980) and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado (1980-1989). In 1989 he joined the University of California, Irvine, where he was founding chair of the Department of Earth System Science and the Daniel G. Aldrich Professor of Earth System Science; Dean of the School of Physical Sciences; and Chancellor, immediately prior to his election as Academy president in 2005. Dr. Cicerone served on the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Committee (2009-2013), and is a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

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