NOAA 2007-024
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NOAA senior scientist A.R. Ravishankara has been named the director of the Chemical Sciences Division of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. He will lead the federal research laboratory that provides a sound scientific basis for many decisions made in industry and government related to understanding climate change, air quality improvement and protecting the ozone layer.

“Ravi’s leadership qualities in addition to his scientific credentials will benefit the division, the laboratory and NOAA,” said Alexander MacDonald, ESRL director. “I am very pleased that he will chart the scientific course for the division as we deal with many environmental challenges and demands.”

Ravishankara, called “Ravi” by his colleagues, has been with NOAA in Boulder since 1984, when he was hired as a research chemist by the then-Aeronomy Laboratory. In October 2005, NOAA consolidated its Boulder laboratories into ESRL with four divisions. Ravi has been serving as the Chemical Sciences Division’s acting director.

Ravi was a principal research scientist and head of the Molecular Sciences Branch at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech Research Institute, in Atlanta, and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. He earned his doctorate in 1975 in physical chemistry from the University of Florida, in Gainesville. His masters and bachelor’s degrees were earned at the University of Mysore in Karnataka, India.

Ravi’s research has focused on fundamental studies of the gas-phase and surface chemistry that affects the stratospheric ozone layer; quantification of reaction rates of gases relevant to climate; and the chemistry related to air quality in the lower atmosphere. He has also developed new approaches to study the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere, and led the evaluation of the “ozone-friendliness” and “climate-friendliness” of many substances that have been proposed for use in commercial and industrial applications.

His awards and honors include a Presidential Rank Award, membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and fellowships in the American Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Royal Society of Chemistry (Britain). Ravi has more than 275 scientific publications to his credit.

The Chemical Sciences Division has more than 120 scientists, engineers, students, postdoctoral researchers and support staff engaged in research aimed at discovering, understanding, and quantifying the processes that govern the chemical reactions of Earth's atmosphere that are needed to improve the capability to predict its behavior. Its research provides a sound scientific basis for decisions made in industry and government related to understanding climate change, air quality improvement, and protecting the ozone layer.

More than half of the staff are employees of NOAA's Joint Institute with the University of Colorado, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. The Division also has staff members who are employees of NOAA's Joint Institute with Colorado State University, the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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