Atmospheric chemist Ralph J. Cicerone, chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, has been nominated to succeed Bruce Alberts as president of the National Academy of Sciences. NAS members will vote on his nomination in November. Alberts’ second six-year term ends in July 2005.
Cicerone, who tells C&EN that he “was not a science-fair kind of kid,” says his “fascination with and appreciation for science has grown throughout my adult life.” Over his long career, he has become “enormously impressed by the value of the scientific enterprise and what it can do for the world,” and his “enthusiasm for NAS is great.” He plans to consult with Alberts and judge “what is working well before marching off in new directions.”
A member of NAS since 1990, Cicerone has served on many of its committees and on its governing council. In 2001, he chaired the study titled “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions,” which was requested by the White House.
Cicerone, who became UC Irvine’s fourth chancellor in 1998, has been widely recognized for his research in the chemistry of the ozone layer and radiative forcing of climate change. He has used his research-gained knowledge to help frame science and environmental policy at the state, national, and international levels.
Chemistry Nobel Laureate and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Mario J. Molina notes Cicerone’s success “as a scientist, educator, and administrator. I am convinced he will do an excellent job as a leader in the scientific community.”
Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, UC Irvine chemistry professor, cites Cicerone’s “breadth of perspective and detailed expertise in atmospheric and earth system sciences, particularly in the global-change arena.” The latter, she notes, “is at the forefront of scientific, governmental, and public interest and concern.”
Cicerone, a 30-year ACS member, received the 1997 United Nations Environment Program Ozone Award and, in 2002, the American Geophysical Union’s Roger Revelle Medal. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.