Andrew E. Dessler, Jose L. Jimenez, Stephen A. Klein, and Athanasios Nenes received 2012 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Awards at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”
The Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU awards one of the four Ascent Awards to Professor Athanasios Nenes, of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of the Georgia Institute of Technology, for the creation of thermodynamical models for tropospheric aerosols and the development of physically based aerosol-cloud parameterizations. In addition, he is recognized for the design of instrumentation and techniques to characterize the hygroscopicity and activation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and also for contributions to the understanding of the role of aerosols in climate and air quality.
His nomination letters speak of the enormous contribution he has made over a wide range of fields. For example, “each of these contributions [referring to the Nenes’ instrumentation development] has reshaped the landscape of how one measures and interprets CCN data…. I know of no other individual who is equally adept across theory, instrument development, and laboratory and field measurement.” Another nominator notes, “the amazing thing about Thanos is that he has served as a one-stop-shop, end-to-end source of information into aerosol processes and cloud-aerosol interactions, from the laboratory to the field to theory to parameterizations” and “his scholarly work…both experimental and theoretical, is without peer at any age.”
Professor Nenes is abundantly qualified to receive an Ascent Award through his major contributions to many areas of aerosol research.
It is a rare privilege and a deeply fulfilling experience to pursue science while helping shape future generations of scientists and engineers. To be awarded on top of it is humbling to say the least. I am deeply grateful to my nominator and supporters and thank the AGU Atmospheric Sciences Section Awards Committee for this honor. What makes the Ascent Award even more special is its strong vote of confidence for the future, which is both energizing and inspiring.
I have many people to thank: first and foremost, my wife, Luz. Her love, patience, understanding, and continuous support are a source of inspiration that has only strengthened since the birth of our two lovely children, Hector Angelos and Esperanza Dafni. I also thank the Georgia Institute of Technology and my chairs, Glenn Cass, Judith Curry, Ronald Rousseau, and William Chameides, for providing the opportunity to start a research program and doing everything possible to help it flourish. I thank my colleagues Mike Bergin, L. Greg Huey, and Rodney Weber for generously sharing their expertise and resources all these years. My deepest gratitude goes to present and past members of my research group; your inexhaustible enthusiasm, motivation, creativity, and hard work have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined.
I am forever grateful to my Ph.D. advisor John Seinfeld, Spyros Pandis, Richard Flagan, and my M.Sc. advisor Christodoulos Pilinis. They introduced me to aerosol science, shaped me as a scientist, and provided continuous guidance, support, friendship, and opportunity for collaboration. I am also grateful to Greg Roberts for an amazing collaboration on CCN instrumentation and to Greg Kok, of Droplet Measurement Technologies, for enabling its commercial success.
Finally, I dedicate this award to my parents, Theodosio and Maria. By example, they taught me to aim high, work hard for it, and never give up trying.