POC: Charles K. Gatebe, Phone: 301-614-6228, Email:

Maniac Talks are about what inspired people to do what they are doing now in their career. It's about their driving forces and motivators and what keeps them going. It's about how they overcome obstacles. The format of the talks is informal and discussion is encouraged. All talks are recorded/taped and archived at GSFC Library. The talks are also available on YouTube:

April 17, 2019 Nicholas E. White Senior Vice President for Science, Universities Space Research Association (USRA).
April 30, 2019 Edward Rogers Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
May 14, 2019 H Jay Zwally Chief Cryosphere Scientist, NASA GSFC.
May 22, 2019 Jennifer J. Wiseman Senior Astrophysicist & Hubble Senior Project Scientist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
June 26, 2019 Stephen Jurczyk Associate Administrator, NASA Headquarters.
July 24, 2019 Lucy McFadden Planetary Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
August 28, 2019 Dorothy Zukor Associate Director for Institutional Planning and Development, Earth Sciences Division, NASA/GSFC.
September 25, 2019 Stamatios M. Krimigis Head Emeritus and Principal Staff, Space Department, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University.
August 28, 2019 Dorothy Zukor Associate Director for Institutional Planning and Development, Earth Sciences Division, NASA GSFC.
September 25, 2019 Stamatios M. Krimigis Head Emeritus and Principal Staff, Space Department, Applied Physics Laboratory, John Hopkins University.
October 23, 2019 Colleen Hartman National Academy of Sciences,
November 20, 2019 Dixon M. Butler Founder and President, YLACES (Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists).

Editor's note: information herein culled from NASA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, various universities, and other online sources). The YouTube terms of service agreement can be found at


Ralph Kahn Maniac Lecture

February 1

NASA climate scientist Ralph Kahn presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "The Stories Data Tell." At an early age, Ralph found that separating causality from coincidence can be the lynchpin of understanding, and at times can help identify prerogatives or highlight the path toward the better options. Ralph shared his experiences, professional, personal, and at the intersection of the two, where the difference seemed to matter. And how data can help address this challenge, providing evidence one way or the other - sometimes!


Ralph Kahn, a Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, received his PhD in applied physics from Harvard University. He spent 20 years as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he studied climate change on Earth and Mars, and also led the Earth & Planetary Atmospheres Research Element. Kahn is Aerosol Scientist for the NASA Earth Observing System's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument. He focuses on using MISR’s unique observations, combined with other data and numerical models, to learn about wildfire smoke, desert dust, volcano and air pollution particles, and to apply the results to regional and global climate-change questions. Kahn has lectured on Climate Change and atmospheric physics at UCLA, Caltech and many other venues, and is editor and founder of PUMAS, the on-line journal of science and math examples for pre-college education.

Joel Susskind Maniac Lecture

February 24

NASA climate scientist Joel Susskind presented a Maniac Lecture entitled, "Journey from Chemistry to (who would have thought it) Meteorology." Joel described the twists and turns of his professional career, starting as a young child who loved to mix household chemicals together and wanted to become a chemist, and continuing through present as a career Civil Servant of 38 years at GSFC doing meteorological research.


Joel Susskind received his A.B. from Columbia College in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968, where he did experimental and theoretical research in laboratory microwave spectroscopy. He had post-doctoral positions at the University of Minnesota and Florida State University, doing instrumental and theoretical research in high-resolution infra-red laboratory spectroscopy. He is currently a Senior Scientist in the Laboratory for Atmospheres at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where he has worked since 1977 doing research in infra-red and microwave remote sensing. Dr. Susskind has been a member of the AIRS Science Team since its inception and is conducting research aimed at improving products derived from AIRS observations and using AIRS sounding products to further improve numerical weather prediction as well as to study climate processes and trends. Dr. Susskind served as NASA Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite Project Scientist, the NPP Sounder Scientist, and the HES Sounder Scientist. He received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1985 and 2011 and the Goddard Space Flight Center Exceptional Achievement Award in 1988.

Florence Tan Maniac Lecture

April 13

NASA Engineer Florence Tan presented a Maniac Lecture entitled, "From Malaysia to Mars." Florence talked about her journey from Malaysia to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she has been working on planetary mass spectrometers, which is characterized by challenges, frustration, excitement, and rewards.


Florence Tan was born in Malaysia and wanted to work in the space business
ever since she saw Star Trek re-runs om Malaysian TV while growing up. She
made her way to college in the U.S and parlayed her early Networking Skills
with a fellow student into an internship and later, a career, at NASA Goddard
Space Flight Center.

She has designed and built electronics and written software for seven (7) mass
spectrometers that had been sent forth into various quadrants of the Solar
System, not all of which arrived intact. Of those that did not blow up or go
off course, one is roving and operating on the surface of Mars on the Rover
Curiosity, one is orbiting around Mars, and yet another is still operating 18
years after launch, orbiting around Saturn on the Cassini Orbiter. One is
resting on the surface of Titan and another on the surface of the moon.

She is currently the Electrical Lead Engineer of the Mars Organic Molecule
Analyzer (MOMA) on ExoMars, a European Rover launching in 2018. She is also
the Lead Electronics Engineer for Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer
(NGIMS) on the MAVEN Orbiter, which entered Mars Orbit in Sept 2014. She is
also the Electrical Lead Engineer of SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) on the Mars
Science Laboratory (MSL), better known as the Curiosity Rover, and was the
Electrical Lead Engineer for Neutral Mass Spectrometer(NMS) on LADEE, a
successful moon orbiter mission that ended in April 2014. She is married the
MOMA, MSL-SAM, MAVEN NGIMS, and LADEE NMS Software Lead Engineer and they have
two children. The family dinner table conversations have convinced her
children that SAM is really their third sibling.

Florence holds a M.B.A. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering, from Johns Hopkins
University, and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland.
Florence has been recognized with the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the
Robert Goddard Exceptional Achievement and multiple NASA Special Act Awards.

Florence likes volunteering in schools to encourage students to explore a
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career. She is very
interested in the Etymology of the English and Malay languages and likes any
book by Bill Bryson and enjoys contorting herself into various yogic positions
daily. She is learning to slow down in her middle years and hopes that the
next 50 years will be just as interesting and fun as the last half century.
Throughout her entire career, she has had the good fortune of having continued
strong and unwavering support from her husband, children, parents and

Jagadish Shukla Maniac Lecture

May 2

Dr. Jagadish Shukla, Distinguished University Professor, George Mason University, presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "From Ballia to Boston: A Village Boy Goes to MIT and Goddard." Shukla's story begins as a boy who was born in a small village in the Ballia District of India, walked barefoot while grazing cattle, learned Sanskrit and Math under a kerosene lamp, used bullock carts and elephants for transportation, and somehow ended up at MIT and Goddard. The lecture also included a personal retrospective of the origins of the idea of predictability in the midst of chaos, and the evolution from Numerical Weather Prediction to Numerical Climate Prediction.


Dr. Shukla is a Distinguished University Professor and the Founding Chairman of the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences at George Mason University (GMU), Virginia, USA.

In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of Virginia as a member of the Commission on Climate Change. He was one of the Lead Authors of the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore. In 2007, he received the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize, considered to be the highest prize in meteorology in the world. In 2005, he received the Rossby Medal, considered the highest medal of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in the USA; in 2001, he received the Walker Gold Medal, considered the highest medal of Indian Meteorological Society (IMS) in India; in 1982 he received the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal of NASA, the highest medal given by NASA to a civilian.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorology Society, India Meteorology Society, and an Associate Fellow of TWAS (the academy of sciences for the developing world). He has been the Ph. D. thesis adviser for about 20 students at MIT., Univ. of Maryland, and George Mason University. Professor Shukla has exerted a tremendous influence on the field through his publication of over 200 scientific papers, reports and book chapters, his direction of 20 Ph.D. students’ dissertation research, his leadership of several national and international advisory and planning panels.

Professor Shukla has contributed to the science of meteorology and to governments, research organizations, and institutions of higher learning throughout the world, through fundamental scientific advances, institution building, and international cooperation in meteorology for the betterment of humankind worldwide.

He has made fundamental contributions to the study of climate dynamics that have led to the development of a scientific basis for the prediction of climate beyond the limit of the predictability of daily weather, which derives from the influence of the slow variations of the atmosphere’s lower boundary conditions. This pioneering work helped lay the scientific foundation for dynamical seasonal prediction at a time when the community was quite skeptical about its prospects. This idea launched a large community research effort to investigate the effects of boundary conditions on climate variability and predictability, and it lead to routine dynamical seasonal prediction. Beyond that, Professor Shukla has helped launch global programs to measure, quantify, and exploit the Earth's climate variability and predictability. He has helped establish institutions in India, Brazil, South Korea and Italy for the purposes of studying the predictability of seasonal to interannual climate fluctuations as well as for making actual climate predictions.

Professor Shukla has also contributed greatly to establishing the importance of land surface processes in determining the seasonal and longer predictability of climate. Toward that end, he established the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) to conduct basic research on climate predictability with the idea that air-sea and air-land interactions are both important. The COLA group is now recognized as one of the outstanding research centers in the world focused on climate dynamics and climate predictability. Professor Shukla and colleagues at COLA have conducted several studies of global deforestation, desertification and monsoons as examples of phenomena in which interactions between the atmosphere and the land surface play a critical role. This emphasis on land surface processes was a fundamental advance of the science, which has lead to numerous research programs, field experiments and space- missions.

Another major contribution made by Professor Shukla was his development and proof of the concept of retrospective analysis of atmospheric observations. As in the case of dynamical seasonal prediction, he had the foresight and the vision to push forward this idea and conduct a pilot reanalysis as proof of concept at a time when the community was somewhat skeptical about its feasibility. Reanalysis efforts in the U.S., Europe and Japan inspired by Professor Shukla’s work have led to invaluable data sets that form the basis for climate analysis research today and for the foreseeable future worldwide.

Professor Shukla's contributions represent a unique combination of major scientific accomplishments and substantive community service including the development of scientific programs, creation of new institutions, and fostering of further international cooperation in weather and climate research, to ensure that the fruits of scientific research are harvested for the benefit of society. He has also established Gandhi College in the village of his birth for the education of rural girls.

Richard Fisher Maniac Lecture

May 25

Dr. Richard "Dick" Fisher, Director Heliophysics Division (Emeritus), NASA Headquarters, presented a Maniac Talk entitled, "The Seventh Cycle -- What I Needed to Know and Learned from the Secrets of the Japanese Garden." As in the case of learning how to perform in any specialized context, Dick found there were a number of issues he was neither taught nor learned from life experience. Using his own journey, Dick summarized a few of the more useful, to identify and make available things and ideas that helped him with his time with NASA.


Richard R. Fisher is an astrophysicist who worked both in academia and at NASA. Before joining NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1991, he was an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, 1965 to 1971, a staff scientist and then section head at the Sacramento Peak Observatory, 1971 to 1976, and worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research from 1975 to 1991. He became the Branch Chief for the Solar Physics Branch at the Goddard Space Flight Center from 1991 to 1998, and the Laboratory Chief for the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Solar Physics from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2012, he moved to NASA Headquarters and served in various capacities including the Director of the Sun-Earth Connections Division, Deputy Director of the Earth–Sun Systems Division and Director of the Heliophysics Division.

Dr. Fisher was a primary investigator on the Spartan (Shuttle Point Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy) and other satellite projects that were launched from several Space Shuttle missions STS-56, STS-64, STS-69, STS-87 and STS-95, which measured solar wind and other solar emissions, and he was responsible for coordinating the work of Spartan with the European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. He was responsible for the development and launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2010.

Dr. Fisher was a spokesman for NASA in 2010 when it announced that the sun was entering a cycle of increasingly powerful storms that would peak in 2013. He also announced the release of NASA's second smart phone app, the 3D sun, which allowed people to monitor the sun in real time. He was the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award in the Senior Executive Service in 2007 and was presented with NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2011.

Cynthia Rosenzweig Maniac Lecture

June 22

NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "What If and So What? Climate Change and Corn/Wheat/Rice/Soybeans (and a few words on Cities)." Cynthia narrated how her background as agronomist set her on a path to investigate how a change in climate due to increased carbon dioxide would impact food security and how NASA missions and models have been valuable at every step of the way. Cynthia also touched briefly on climate change and cities.


Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group. She attended Cook College (at Rutgers) earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences in 1980, an M.S. in Soils and Crops from Rutgers University in 1983 and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences in 1991.

Dr. Rosenzweig pioneered the study of climate change impacts on agriculture and cities at NASA. She is Co-Founder of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a major international collaborative effort to assess the state of global agricultural modeling, understand climate impacts on the agricultural sector, and enhance adaptation capacity, as it pertains to food security, in developing and developed countries. She is Co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the mayor to advise the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. She co-led the Metropolitan East Coast Regional Assessment of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She was Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report. She is Co-Director of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and Co-Editor of the First UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3), the first-ever global, interdisciplinary, cross-regional, science-based assessment to address climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, and policy mechanisms relevant to cities. She was named as one of Nature's "Ten People Who Mattered in 2012". A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she joins impact models with climate models to project future outcomes of both land-based and urban systems under altered climate conditions. She is a Professor at Barnard College and a Senior Research Scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Charles Ichoku Maniac Lecture

July 25

NASA climate scientist Charles Ichoku presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "Reminiscences of a scientist's journey from Nawfia to NASA." Born in a small town in Nigeria, Charles traced his captivating journey to NASA, which was full of surprises, and related his experiences with the great people he met and interacted with along the way, as well as some of his work.


Dr. Charles Ichoku is the Assistant Chief, Climate & Radiation Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. He attended the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC), earning both a Bachelor of Science degree in Surveying, Geodesy & Photogrammetry (1982) and a Master of Science degree in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (1987). He then earned both a Master of Philosophy in Remote Sensing (1989) and a PhD in Earth Sciences (1993) at the Université Pierre & Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris, France.

His research portfolio includes the quantitative evaluation and utilization of satellite retrievals of land-surface and atmospheric products, particularly fires and aerosols, for important environmental research and applications. He led the team that conducted an independent pre-launch evaluation of the MODIS fire detection algorithm that has been delivering spectacular fire products to the world, and has since proceeded to lead the development of cutting-edge smoke emission products from satellite measurements of fire radiative power (FRP). However, his activities over the years have included developing and applying both experimental and remote sensing approaches to research in various branches of the earth sciences, including geology and geodynamics, hydrology, and atmospheric studies. He has won several NASA individual and group achievement awards, and has published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Stephen Ungar Maniac Lecture

August 24

NASA climate scientist Stephen Ungar presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "My Intellectual Journey from 'Idiot' to 'Savant'." Steve shared his journey from somewhat problematic childhood, spanning World War 2, through early formative years leading to his six decades of association with NASA. Learn why, although race, religion and ethnicity played a role in his identity, he self-identify himself as a Physicist. According to Steve, NASA has served as a safe harbor for those afflicted with his condition and provided him an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to society. Steve also briefly touched on his good fortune in serving as the initial Mission Scientist for EO-1, "NASA's Science and Technology Pathfinder to the 21st Century."


Dr. Stephen G. Ungar currently occupies a position as a Scientist Emeritus at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), with a half-time appointment as a Senior Research Scientist at the University Space Research Association (USRA) under the NASA/USRA Goddard Earth Sciences, Technology and Research (GESTAR) program. He also participates in the formulation of NASA’s future Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) Mission as a member of both the HyspIRI Steering Committee and the HyspIRI Science Study Group.

Dr. Ungar began his 45+ year association with NASA at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. Although originally trained as an astrophysicist, he gained considerable experience in remote sensing of the earth's surface throughout his career. He was Director of the Earth Resources Program at NASA GISS from the program's inception in 1971 until its components were transferred to GSFC in 1982 as part of the refocusing of the GISS mission to Climate Research. During his time at GISS he participated in the Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment (LACIE) and the Agristars project. He was a member of the working group that helped define the spectral, spatial and radiometric characteristics for the first Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor. The GISS group was particularly active in the production of simulated TM scenes based on airborne sensor system observations, prior to the launch of the first TM instrument.

In subsequent years, Dr. Ungar was heavily involved in major NASA remote sensing field programs, including the First ISLSCP Field Experiment (FIFE) and the Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS). He was selected as one of nine American PI's to participate in the Soviet-sponsored FIFE follow-on experiment (KUREX) conducted at the Kursk Biospheric Sciences Preserve in the former Soviet Union. After relocating to GSFC in 1991, he participated on both the MODIS Characterization Support Team (MCST) and the MODIS Science Data Support Team (SDST) and served as Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) located at GSFC.

Dr. Ungar served as the Earth-Observing 1 (EO-1) Mission Scientist from the mission's inception in 1996 until his retirement from NASA in April 2008. He was Team Leader of the award winning EO-1 Science Validation Team (SVT), consisting of 31 Principle Investigators, selected by a competitive peer reviewed process. He also served as the Project Scientist for NASA's Morning Constellation, consisting of the Landsat-7, EO-1, SAC-C, and Terra satellites flying in formation. Upon retirement, Dr. Ungar received a Scientist Emeritus appointment at the NASA GSFC. Additionally, he held the position of Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) from July 2008 until transitioning to USRA in May 2011. Dr. Ungar participates in many international venues and served as Chair of the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV). He served as Task Leader for the GEO Task on Data Quality Assurance across the 9 GEO Societal Benefit Areas and was an official delegate to the 2007 GEO Earth Summit in Cape Town, South Africa.

Among dozens of awards received during his extensive career, Dr. Ungar received the prestigious “NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement”, on December 4th, 2002. Most recently, he received the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research “2015 Exceptional Service Award” for “his sustained contributions to the Earth Observing-1 Mission (EO-1) satellite and the Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI)”.

Alexander Kashlinsky Maniac Lecture

September 30

Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Kashlinsky, an astronomer/cosmologist working at NASA Goddard presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "HOW I PLANNED TO TRAVEL TO SPACE AND GOT TO STUDY IT INSTEAD: a personal journey through 6 different countries in a changing world." Sasha was born in the former Soviet Union, just as the space era got underway with the Sputnick launch. He traced his journey back to those days of Sputnick, and walked the audience through different stages of his life and career, including his interactions with Lord Martin Rees, one of the world's most eminent astronomer and John Mather, a Nobel Prize in Physics winner.


Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Kashlinsky, is a Senior Staff Scientist with Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He began studies in Physics at Latvian State University, Riga, USSR/Latvia from 1973 to 1976, then moved to Israel, where he completed undergraduate studies in Physics at Tel Aviv University in 1977 and went on to earn his M.Sc. in Physics in 1979 at the same institution. He got his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, England in 1983 with the thesis “The formation of bounds systems in the Universe,” under the supervision of Lord Martin Rees.

Sasha has had a very illustrious career since he came to Goddard in 1991 and has made important contributions to cosmic infrared and cosmic microwave background radiation, galaxy formation, large-scale structure of the universe and dark matter among many others topics. He recently published results of a new study, where he suggested that, what LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) might have detected was a merger of primordial black holes making up the Dark Matter.

He is the principal investigator on several NASA and NSF grants to study topics related to large-scale flows and cosmic microwave background radiation, and to cosmic infrared background and early stellar and black hole populations. He leads a competitively selected NASA project known as LIBRAE (Looking at Infrared Background Radiation Anisotropies with Euclid), which is designated to run through 2030+ with the Dark Energy European Space Agency mission Euclid.

Michael Kurylo Maniac Lecture

November 16

NASA climate scientist Michael Kurylo presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "An Uncharted Journey: How I Became an Atmospheric Scientist Rather than a Cowboy or a Farmer." Mike described the path that took him from post-WW II housing projects to and through a rural Connecticut neighborhood, how he became convinced about the unrealistic nature of some early naive career dreams, and how he eventually arrived at a career in atmospheric science (research and program management, and their interface with international environmental policy).


Michael J. Kurylo could have been a cowboy or a farmer, but he ended up becoming an atmospheric scientist studying global change and the trends in the abundances of atmospheric constituents such ozone- and other climate-related trace gases, and later transitioning to program management and international environmental policy. He spent more than three decades at the National Institute of Standards and Technology – but a half of that period, he was on Inter-Agency detail to NASA Headquarters as a Manager of NASA Congressionally-mandated Upper Atmosphere Research Program. Over the years, he received many awards and recognitions from the Department of Commerce, NASA, NOAA, EPA, and most recently he was inducted into the National Institute of Standards Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Scientists, Engineers, and Administrators.

V. Ramaswamy Maniac Lecture

November 3

NOAA Climate Scientist Venkatachalam Ramaswamy presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "From physics to the science of weather and climate: The fun and excitement of scaling the boundaries across disciplines." Ramaswamy is convinced that he really did not have a definitive dream when he was growing up in India, with perhaps only the vaguest notion of being a scientific researcher. Now, it feels different for him. He reflected on the journey it has been through the academic and professional career – an adventure that has comprised crossing disciplinary perimeters involving multiple types of scaling. As he has wandered into the disciplines of climate and weather, the challenges encountered have been revelations in the interface between science and society.


Venkatachalam “Ram” Ramaswamy Grew up in northern India in the 1960s and 1970s, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delhi, India. He came to the U.S. in 1977, first to Purdue University, then to SUNY-Albany in New York where he obtained his doctoral degree. He was a Fellow in the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado prior to joining GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in 1986, where he has been a director since 2008. Ram's research has focused on atmospheric physics and numerical modeling of the climate system, ranging from understanding of the mechanisms governing forcings and feedbacks in the system, to modeling climate variations and change due to greenhouse gases, aerosols and clouds. This has included the use of observations together with models to diagnose the roles of different factors in climate change. Ram has been a Coordinating Lead Author on the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Ozone Assessments and Global Climate Research Program Assessments. He is a Fellow and a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Henry Houghton Award, and is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He has also received numerous other awards including the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professional and is a two-time recipient of the WMO Norbert-Gerbier MUMM International Award.