Peng Receives 2017 James R. Holton Award

Jianfei Peng will receive the 2017 James R. Holton Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “outstanding scientific research and accomplishments by early-career scientists” who are “no more than three years past the award of the Ph.D. degree.”


“For his innovative studies of aerosol aging, including the aging of black carbon”

Dr. Peng is mainly known for his experimental work examining a wide variety of aerosol issues. At the time of his nomination, he had already written 20 peer-reviewed articles in high impact, top-tier journals. One important paper elucidates the formation mechanisms for haze in Beijing, China, via two distinct processes governed by meteorology. Another examines severe haze formation due to sulfur during the 1952 London fog events as well as in China. Probably his most influential work was explaining the rapid timescale of aging for black carbon, which, when implemented in climate studies, leads to an improved evaluation of the direct radiative forcing of black carbon, thereby closing the gap between model predictions and observations of the effect of black carbon aerosols on climate.

As noted in his nomination letter, Peng’s “work is clearly distinguished from those of his peers in terms of its breakthrough nature and societal significance,” and a supporter writes, “His scientific record is truly impressive, not only in terms of the quantity but also the quality and impacts of his publications. Few junior faculty and scientists have achieved so much at such early stage of their career.”

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present the 2017 James R. Holton Award to Dr. Jianfei Peng.

—Joyce E. Penner, President, Atmospheric Sciences Section, AGU


It is truly a great honor for me to be selected as the 2017 James R. Holton Award honoree. I was very humbled when I knew I will receive such an award and would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Atmospheric Sciences section of AGU and the members of the award committee.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the people from whom I have benefited greatly. I am truly grateful to Renyi Zhang, who shares his insightful understanding in atmospheric sciences as well as his enthusiasm and passion, and provides me the platform and opportunity in my early scientific career. My deepest appreciation also goes to my thesis adviser, Min Hu, who is a wonderful mentor and has been providing constant support to me in the past 10 years. I would like to thank Limin Zeng, Song Guo, Zhijun Wu, Min Shao, and Yuanhang Zhang at Peking University (PKU) for their guidance on my research, and to thank Shijin Shuai, Zhanqing Li, Charles E. Kolb, and Mattias Hallquist for the encouragement and opportunities they provided. My gratitude is also extended to all my friends and colleagues at PKU and Texas A&M University, whom I am fortunate enough to work with. And, of course, I thank my family for their unconditional support through all of this.

I never thought I could win an award named after a person as exceptional as James Holton was. This award is truly an incredible inspiration to my scientific life. I will live up to the scientific excellence that this award embodies.

—Jianfei Peng, Texas A&M University, College Station