ⓘ Susan Solomon
Susan Solomon is an atmospheric chemist, working for most of her career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2011, Solomon joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she serves as the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science. Solomon, with her colleagues, was the first to propose the chlorofluorocarbon free radical reaction mechanism that is the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole.
Solomon is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences, and the French Academy of Sciences. In 2002, Discover magazine recognized her as one of the 50 most important women in science. In 2008, Solomon was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
1.1. Biography Early life
Solomons interest in science began as a child watching The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. In high school she placed third in a national science fair, with a project that measured the percent of oxygen in a gas mixture.
Solomon received a bachelors degree in chemistry from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1977. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981, where she specialized in atmospheric chemistry.
1.2. Biography Work
Solomon was the head of the Chemistry and Climate Processes Group of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chemical Sciences Division until 2011. In 2011, she joined the faculty of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1.3. Biography Books
- Aeronomy of the Middle Atmosphere: Chemistry and Physics of the Stratosphere and Mesosphere, 3rd Edition, Springer, 2005 ISBN 1-4020-3284-6 – Describes the atmospheric chemistry and physics of the middle atmosphere from 10 to 100 kilometres 6.2 to 62.1 mi altitude.
- The Coldest March: Scotts Fatal Antarctic Expedition, Yale University Press, 2002 ISBN 0-300-09921-5 – Depicts the tale of Captain Robert Falcon Scotts failed 1912 Antarctic expedition, specifically applying the comparison of modern meteorological data with that recorded by Scotts expedition in an attempt to shed new light on the reasons for the demise of Scotts polar party.
1.4. Biography The ozone hole
Solomon, working with colleagues at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, postulated the mechanism that the Antarctic ozone hole was created by a heterogeneous reaction of ozone and chlorofluorocarbons free radicals on the surface of ice particles in the high altitude clouds that form over Antarctica. In 1986 and 1987 Solomon led the National Ozone Expedition to McMurdo Sound, where the team gathered the evidence to confirm the accelerated reactions. Solomon was the solo leader of the expedition, and the only woman on the team. Her team measured levels of chlorine oxide 100 times higher than expected in the atmosphere, which had been released by the decomposition of chlorofluorocarbons by ultraviolet radiation.
Solomon later showed that volcanoes could accelerate the reactions caused by chlorofluorocarbons, and so increase the damage to the ozone layer. Her work formed the basis of the U.N. Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to protect the ozone layer by regulating damaging chemicals. Solomon has also presented some research which suggests that implementation of the Montreal Protocols is having a positive effect.
Using research work conducted by English explorer and navy officer Robert Falcon Scott, Solomon also wrote and spoke about Scotts 1911 expedition in The Coldest March: Scotts Fatal Antarctic Expedition to counter a longstanding argument that blamed Scott for his and his crews demise during that expedition. Scott attributed his death to unforeseen weather conditions – a claim that has been contested by British journalist and author Roland Huntford. Huntford claimed that Scott was a prideful and under-prepared leader. Solomon has defended Scott and said that "modern data side squarely with Scott", describing the weather conditions in 1911 as unusual.
1.5. Biography Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Solomon served the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was a contributing author for the Third Assessment Report. She was also co-chair of Working Group I for the Fourth Assessment Report.
- 1994 – Solomon Glacier 78°23′S 162°30′E, an Antarctic glacier named in her honor
- 2009 – Volvo Environment Prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- 2018 – Crafoord Prize in Geosciences
- 2012 – Vetlesen Prize, for work on the ozone hole, shared with Jean Jouzel. She was the first woman to receive this prize.
- 2007 – William Bowie Medal, awarded by the American Geophysical Union
- 2017 – Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship by the National Academy of Sciences for substantive work in atmospheric chemistry and climate change
- 2006 – Inducted into the Colorado Womens Hall of Fame
- 1999 – National Medal of Science, awarded by the President of the United States
- 2013 – BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category
- 2015 – Honorary Doctorate honoris causa from Brown University.
- 2000 – Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, awarded by the American Meteorological Society
- 2009 – Inducted into the National Womens Hall of Fame
- 2019 – Made one of the members of the inaugural class of the Government Hall of Fame
- 2008 – Grande Medaille Great Medal of the French Academy of Sciences
- 2018 – Bakerian Lecture
- 1994 – Solomon Saddle 78°23′S 162°39′E, a snow saddle at about 1.850 metres 6.070 ft elevation, named in her honor
- 2007 – As a member of IPCC, which received half of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, she shared a stage receiving the prize with Al Gore who received the other half.
- 2006 – V. M. Goldschmidt Award
- 1991 – Henry G. Houghton Award for research in physical meteorology, awarded by the American Meteorological Society
- 2010 – Service to America Medal, awarded by the Partnership for Public Service
- 2004 – Blue Planet Prize, awarded by the Asahi Glass Foundation