Bhartia Receives 2012 Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award

Pawan K. Bhartia received the Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “broad influence in atmospheric science through exceptional creativity, inspiration of younger scientists, mentoring, international collaborations, and unselfish cooperation in research.”


BhartiaDr. Pawan K. Bhartia, the winner of the Kaufman award, is a senior research scientist in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

His accomplishments can best be described by quoting from his nomination letters. “How does one think about P. K. without thinking about Yoram? P. K. embodies Yoram’s spirit of pure joy of research and exuberance in sharing this joy with just about everybody. True, P. K. is quieter than Yoram and seemingly more reserved, but his enthusiasm for scientific inquiry and the mentoring of young scientists is equally unbounded. Bhartia[’s] unwavering goal is to advance the science that can be obtained from remote sensing data. In his pursuit of this goal, P. K. knows no barrier, no international boundary, no language impediment, no age divisions. There is only the advancement of the science. To advance this goal, he has inspired and cultivated the next generation of remote sensing scientists in the U.S., and was a leader in the negotiations to fly the Dutch Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the NASA Aura spacecraft. There is no one in the business less selfish, more cooperative and self-­effacing than P. K. His last first-­author paper was in 1996, preferring since then to let younger scientists have the opportunity to take the lead. He appears as coauthor on more than 90 papers, and you can be sure that he made substantial contribution[s] in each one, because P. K. turns down ‘ceremonial’ offers of coauthorship right and left.” [Quotation from a letter signed by 27 “scientists, young and old, who are proud to call P. K. Bhatia their mentor, guide and/or inspiration.”]

“It is very rewarding to work with him, because of his excellent ideas, his inspiration and his unselfishness, the latter being a rare quality amongst sci-entists.” “…P. K. has been a prolific source of ideas for the development, improvement, and extension of the ozone retrieval algorithms used in the operational ozone satellite program. His guidance and vision in algorithm development, measurement calibration, and product validation are directly re-sponsible for the success of the NOAA Solar program’s operational near-real-time ozone products and ozone climate data records…. He is happiest when he has been able to provide useful direction to the research paths of his colleagues. His modest assessment of his own ideas and openness to novel ideas makes it easier for others to explore new areas as well as allowing them to admit the inefficiencies of their current approaches. He is an excellent sounding board with a strong ability to find the key underlying questions or assumptions that must be addressed to move research forward. A proper accounting, usually hidden in an acknowledgment of the contributions of the NASA Ozone Processing Team (P. K. has been the guiding light of this team for the last 30 years), would show that the majority of my publications drew important content from his suggestions despite his less frequent appearance as a coauthor. His genuine desire to understand the methods and messages of every presentation he attends matched with his respect for good science and creative solutions create a level playing field where new and old team members’ contributions are nurtured and sifted to produce the best results.”

“I have always found P. K. to be an exceedingly likeable person, one who plays down his own manifold accomplishments. In personal interactions, he is always interested in what other people have to say, and encouraging of their ideas and goals. Dr. Bhartia has worked tirelessly and selflessly over the decades to ensure that new and valuable atmospheric observations be made available to the scientific community, and to ensure that a new generation of atmospheric scientists are well placed to exploit these observations for decades to come. Dr. Bhartia’s selfless dedication to the field, to nurturing his colleagues, and to collaboration with other scientists, make him truly deserving of this award.”

For these reasons, the AGU Atmospheric Sciences Section is proud to award the 2012 Kaufman Award to P. K. Bhartia.

ALAN ROBOCK, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N. J.


It was an honor and pleasure to receive the 2012 Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award from the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union. Yoram and I joined NASA around the same time and were colleagues at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center until his tragic death in 2006 in a bicycle accident inside the GSFC campus. The award named after him not only honors Yoram’s life and work, but it is also one of the rare scientific awards given for collaboration and teamwork, in which Yoram excelled.

As the complexity of scientific research is increasing, scientific progress increasingly requires team building, mentoring, and cooperation. This is particularly true of the science we do at NASA. Though I have received many personal career achievement awards from NASA and other organizations, I cherish the team awards most.

Most of all, I cherish the citation and the nomination letters sent by some 27 of my colleagues for this award. I didn’t know that I had touched the lives of so many. My greatest reward has been the pleasure to work with them. I think the famous Chinese proverb doesn’t quite capture it. The pleasure one derives from teaching someone how to fish is at least as important as the skill one conveys.

PAWAN K. BHARTIA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.