Ralph J. Cicerone nominated to be next National Academy of Sciences president

06/15/04

WASHINGTON -- The Council of the National Academy of Sciences has unanimously approved the nomination of Ralph J. Cicerone, chancellor of the University of California's Irvine campus, for election as president of the Academy, to succeed Bruce Alberts when his second six-year term as NAS president ends on July 1, 2005.

"I am very pleased that Ralph Cicerone has accepted our Council's nomination," said Alberts. "I have known and worked with Ralph for many years. He has been an energetic and thoughtful leader for many of our academy's efforts, as well as for the larger science community."

Chartered by Congress in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, and it is dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and their use for the general welfare. Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer. The membership includes approximately 2,000 members and 350 foreign associates, of whom more than 190 have won Nobel Prizes. Together, the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council constitute the National Academies, which bring together committees of experts to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public. The president of the National Academy of Sciences is a full-time employee of the organization at the Academy's headquarters in Washington, D.C., and also serves as the chair of the National Research Council.

An atmospheric chemist, Cicerone received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois. He has conducted research on the plasma physics of Earth's ionosphere, the chemistry of the ozone layer, radiative forcing of climate change, and sources of atmospheric methane and of methyl halide gases. Cicerone's research has been recognized by the American Geophysical Union with its James B. Macelwane and Roger Revelle medals, by the Franklin Institute with its Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science, and by the United Nations.

Cicerone has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan, and he was also a research scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was dean of physical sciences at the University of California at Irvine from 1994 to 1998, and was named chancellor in April 1998. He also holds the Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. Chair in Earth System Science and serves as professor of chemistry.

Cicerone was elected to the Academy in 1990, and he served on its governing Council from 1996 to 1999. He has been a member of more than 40 Academy and Research Council committees since 1984, and in 2001 chaired the landmark study CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE: AN ANALYSIS OF SOME KEY QUESTIONS, conducted at the request of the White House. He currently serves on the Committee on Women in Science and Engineering, the Advisory Board for the Koshland Science Museum, and the Advisory Committee for the Division on Earth and Life Studies.

A Nominating Committee of 28 Academy members, chaired by Peter H. Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, selected Cicerone after a six-month search. Under the Academy's bylaws, the Nominating Committee puts forward for the Council's approval a single candidate for the presidency. Although the bylaws permit additional nominations from the membership, this mechanism has never been used. In the absence of another nomination, Cicerone's name will be presented to the full membership for formal ratification on Dec. 15. That ballot, which will also contain the names of candidates for the Academy's vice presidency and for four vacant positions on the Council, will be completed on Jan. 31.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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