Professor V. Ramanathan, an internationally renowned atmospheric scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent group of researchers with the responsibility for advising and counseling the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Members are selected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research.
According to Dr. Charles Kennel, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, "Dr. Ramanathanâ€™s research on the global climate and atmosphere is extraordinary. His prescient research insights and contributions to scientific understanding of the dynamics of the global atmosphere qualify him as an ideal member of the National Academy."
Ramanathan, director of the Scripps Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate and professor of climate and atmospheric sciences, leads innovative research projects involving global climate dynamics, aerosols, the greenhouse effect, clouds, and satellite remote sensing. He has been affiliated with Scripps Institution since 1990.
Ramanathan is widely recognized for his research on the effects of greenhouse gases and the role of cloud and water vapor on radiative feedbacks in climate change and in regulating ocean temperatures. He is co-chief scientist of the international Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), and with his colleagues, has published several papers about the discovery of the Asian Brown Cloud, a mixture of pollutants, mainly soots, sulfates, nitrates, organic particles, fly ash, and mineral dust, formed by fossil fuel combustion and rural biomass burning. Ramanathan has served on numerous national and international scientific committees for climate and atmospheric studies.Â
Throughout his distinguished career he has published numerous articles and books and participated in several major international research studies on the climate effects of trace gases.
Ramanathan is widely recognized by the scientific community for his work in understanding the effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere. He was the first to demonstrate in 1975 that CFCs are major greenhouse gases and significant contributors to global warming. A product of industrial pollution and certain consumer products, CFCs remain in the troposphere for many decades and will be a factor in global warming through this century. In 1989, he led a NASA satellite study that demonstrated that clouds had a large global cooling effect on the planet.
Born in Madras, India, Ramanathan received his bachelorâ€™s degree in mechanical engineering from Annamalai University in Madras in 1965. In 1969, he earned a masterâ€™s degree in energy transfer from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. He received his doctoral degree in planetary atmospheres from the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook, in 1973. After graduation, he became a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting scientist at NASAâ€™s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.Â
In 1976, he joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, as a research scientist. During that time he was also affiliated with Colorado State University. He joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1986 as a professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences and served until 1990.
His research has earned awards from organizations around the world, including the 2002 Rossby Research Medal from the American Meteorological Society, the highest honor the organization bestows upon an atmospheric scientist. He is the 1995 recipient of the Buys Ballot Medal, given once every ten years by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and in 1997, he was co-recipient of the Volvo Environment Prize for his pioneering work in studying the greenhouse effect. He received a medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement from NASA in 1989 and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from SUNY, Stony Brook in 1984. Ramanathan is a fellow in both the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Geophysical Union.
Dr. J. Craig Venter, an alumnus of the University of California, San Diego, and founder of Celera Corporation, also was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Venter serves on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) Council, a high-level group of nationally and internationally prominent individuals who provide advice, assistance, and support to Scripps Institution and its director.
In 1998, Venter established Celera Corporation. He recently announced the formation of three, new, not-for profit organizations that will deal with the social and ethical issues surrounding genomics, as well as new biological energy sources. He is also the founder of The Institute of Genomic Research (TIGR), where he led the first successful effort to sequence an entire organismâ€™s genome, and he continues as chairman of the TIGR Board of Trustees. Prior to founding TIGR, he was a scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC (1984-91). He earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in biochemistry in 1972 and a doctoral degree in physiology and pharmacology in 1975 from the University of California, San Diego.
Images of Prof. V. Ramanathan are available upon request.