Bordoni Receives 2009 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award

Simona Bordoni received the 2009 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding research contributions by a junior atmospheric scientist within 3 years of his or her Ph.D.


bordoni_simonaAt this early stage in her career, Simona Bordoni has become a specialist in monsoon meteorology, advancing our understanding of the mesoscale dynamics of the North American monsoon and identifying fundamentals of the dynamics of large-scale monsoon circulations worldwide. Her work on monsoon dynamics published in Nature Geoscience and elsewhere describes truly exciting research. These form a set of very innovative papers, ranging from careful observational studies to highly theoretical general circulation model studies.

As a student, she was considered one of the “most talented and mature,” not only in her class but also “in a decade of students at University of California, Los Angeles” (UCLA). Her seminars have been described as “exceptionally clear,” a skill she is no doubt using regularly now since beginning as an assistant professor at California Institute of Technology this fall.

On behalf of the Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU, I would like to congratulate Simona Bordoni for being selected as this year’s recipient of the James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award.

M. Joan Alexander, NorthWest Research Associates, Inc., Boulder, Colorado


I am deeply honored and humbled to receive an award from the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section that bears the name of James Holton.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting Jim personally, but I still remember a very inspiring lecture that he gave at UCLA during my very first quarter there as a graduate student. Since then and through the years, I have become even more appreciative of Jim’s scientific excellence and outstanding contribution to atmospheric dynamics by studying many of his papers, interacting with students he mentored and colleagues he worked with, and learning from and, now as an instructor myself, teaching out of his textbook.

People who have contributed to my personal and scientific growth during these first few years of my career have been numerous, and I cannot thank them all here. However, I would like to acknowledge those who have been the most influential: Bjorn Stevens, my Ph.D. advisor at UCLA, who has provided excellent guidance yet has given me the freedom and encouragement to explore my own research interests; Tapio Schneider at California Institute of Technology, coadvisor in the last 2 years of my Ph.D. work and postdoctoral advisor, who has shaped my view of the general circulation of the atmosphere and has motivated exciting research; and Maura Hagan, National Center for Atmospheric Research deputy director and director of the Advanced Study Program, who has provided continuous support during my Advanced Study Program postdoc and represents a great role model for women in science.

I have just joined the faculty at California Institute of Technology in fall 2009.

I am very excited at the opportunity to build my own research program and group and to teach future generations of atmospheric scientists. It is very inspiring to receive at this early stage of my career this award, named after somebody whose career was as successful and exceptional as James Holton’s was. I thank the section for this honor, and I hope my future work will reflect the excitement and scientific excellence that this award embodies.

Simona Bordoni, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena