Worsnop Receives 2010 Yoram J. Kaufman Award for Unselfish Cooperation in Research

Douglas R. Worsnop received the 2010 Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting, held 13–17 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.”


worsnop_douglas1The AGU Atmospheric Sciences section awarded the 2010 Yoram J. Kaufman Award for Unselfish Cooperation in Research to Douglas R. Worsnop of Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Mass., and the Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, in Finland. Worsnop’s qualifications for this award can best be expressed by quoting from those who know him best, as expressed in his nomination letters:

“He is the father of the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS), unquestionably the most influential instrumentation advance in the field of atmospheric aerosol chemistry, period!”

“Doug Worsnop stands for everything that the late Yoram Kaufman symbolized: altruism, enthusiasm, curiosity-driven science and the willingness to share it, and an unstoppable will to spend the time with young and established scientists in order to help them do real and exciting science.”

“In addition to the one-on-one relationships, Doug Worsnop and his colleagues at Aerodyne created a unique and unprecedented international community of people who work together to improve and push to the limit the AMS. The AMS was Doug’s dream, which came into reality and changed dramatically the way we think about aerosol measurements. The AMS community is an amazing collection of people who work in Doug’s spirit: Together they improve the instrument, develop the science, share ideas, work openly, and support each other. Doug Worsnop was able to spread his personality to a global scientific community—obviously an amazing achievement.”

“As impressive as Doug’s scientific achievements are, his accomplishments in building a community of researchers are unique and an outstanding model of what selfless dedication can accomplish. As the Aerodyne AMS instruments became commercially available, Doug worked tirelessly to ensure that users are trained to use the instrument to its best advantage, both for simple operation and for research application. He traveled repeatedly across the continent and overseas from one AMS location to another, making certain that the instruments were operating properly, that they were constantly upgraded with the newest improvements, and that the users were satisfied. He brought users in contact with one another to share ideas, results, and also problems that needed intervention. In this way trust was built and a community was established.”

Douglas Worsnop clearly merits the Yoram J. Kaufman Award for broad influence in atmospheric science through exceptional creativity, inspiration of younger scientists, mentoring, international collaborations, and unselfish cooperation in research.


Thank you very much.

I knew Yoram Kaufman from discussions at meetings. Actually, he was someone I very much looked forward to getting to know better. As the global context of our aerosol chemistry measurements has grown, from my perspective it would have been inevitable for us to work together. His unfortunate accident was a tragic loss to our community. I also feel honored to follow Ross Salawitch and Ralph Kahn, the first winners of this award, both of whom are in the audience.

This is truly an amazing moment for me. I should first thank my wife, Regina, who has officially been anointed a saint by a member of our community. And I would also like to mention our son, Alec, who could not be here—he is in the midst of an applied statistics final that might do some of us a lot of good (I’ve learned a lot of statistics this semester). And I thank my sister, Pamela, and her husband, Patrick, and our two nephews, Andy an Brandon, who are here. This genuinely is a big deal in our family.

There are a whole bunch of people here I could thank, but I’ll limit myself to two: John Jayne (Aerodyne Research) and Jose Jimenez (University of Colorado). We were all together, now over 10 years ago, when we thought this aerosol mass spectrometer might really work. Its success caught us completely off guard. As I’m prone to saying, we don’t sell instruments, we share research; we share everything we know about experimental physical chemistry—with anyone who cares about aerosol chemistry. It has always been about the science, and it still is about the data, especially sharing our experience while training young people to appreciate data.

Getting into atmospheric science, which happened for me almost exactly 25 years ago when I joined Aerodyne, was the luckiest thing to happen to me professionally, for sure. This atmospheric sciences community, for me, is a remarkable enterprise. It is inherently interdisciplinary and international. I truly believe we are all searching new truths, things out there that we will figure out and that will make a difference. Again, I am honored to be up here and be acknowledged by our research community. In reality, the community of AMS users (many of whom are here tonight) is responsible for me being up here accepting an award for “unselfish cooperation in research.” (A friend lauded me for the cooperation, but he wasn’t sure about the unselfish part.) Some in the community have even made me a professor, in physics no less, at the University of Helsinki, in Finland, which happens to be a worldwide center of aerosol research.

I’ll end by saying that atmospheric aerosol research is not going away, climate change is not going away, and geoengineering may be coming. Not necessarily coming for real, but it will be talked about and analyzed more and more. As long as geoengineering schemes keep appearing, particularly schemes that utilize aerosols, we are going to be the group responsible for determining and advising whether it is a good idea or not, a role Alan Robock, our chairperson, already fulfills.

—DOUGLAS R. WORSNOP, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Mass.

—DOUGLAS R. WORSNOP, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Mass.