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Susan SolomonJanuary 31, 2000 — The White House today named Susan Solomon, a leading atmospheric scientist at the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo., to receive the 1999 National Medal of Science. She is the first NOAA scientist to be awarded the medal, which is the nation's highest scientific honor. (Click image for larger view.) [NOAA Photo: Dr. Susan Solomon, and some new friends, on Antarctic expedition in 1987 near McMurdo Station.]

Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley praised Solomon's achievements, noting that "Solomon has been one of the most important and influential researchers in atmospheric science during the past 15 years. Her work to unravel the mysteries of the Antarctic ozone hole is an example of the important role played by government scientists in figuring out the answers to the larger picture of global change. We in the Commerce Department are very proud of her outstanding work."

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Solomon is being recognized for her insights in explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole. Solomon carried out key work theorizing that chemical reactions involving manmade chlorine could be responsible for the remarkable Antarctic ozone depletion. She also served as the leader of the National Ozone Expeditions to the Antarctic in 1986 and 1987, where she conducted observations that provided the first direct evidence of this chemistry. In 1994, an Antarctic glacier was named in her honor in recognition of that work.

D. James Baker, administrator of NOAA and undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, said, "Everyone at NOAA is extremely proud of Susan Solomon, one of our senior scientists at NOAA's Aeronomy Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. Dr. Solomon is a talented and dedicated scientist whose key insights into the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole have changed the direction of ozone research. We applaud Dr. Solomon's contributions to our better understanding of the ozone layer and to the chemistry underlying it."

Susan Solomon in office in Boulder, ColoradoThe 44-year-old Solomon is one of 12 recipients of this year's medal, which is awarded by NSF. President Clinton will present the medals during a White House ceremony in early March. (Click image for larger view.) [NOAA Photo: Dr. Susan Solomon in her Boulder, Colo., office.]

Solomon received her Ph.D degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981 and has been a research scientist at NOAA's Aeronomy Laboratory since that time.

She is the recipient of many other honors and awards, including the J.B. MacElwane award of the American Geophysical Union, the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the ozone award from the United Nations Environment Programme, and the 1999 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Award from the American Meteorological Society. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a foreign associate of the French Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of the Academia Europaea.

The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a presidential award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences." A committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the President to evaluate the nominees for this award.

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Any requests for interviews should be made to Barbara McGehan in Boulder, Colo., at (303) 497-6288.