The University of Missouri-Columbia will honor NASA senior research scientist Jack Fishman with an Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni Award for his exceptional accomplishments in global pollution research. Fishman is known internationally as an expert in the field of atmospheric chemistry.
He will receive the award Feb. 18 at a formal ceremony during the university's annual weeklong celebration of the arts and sciences. During his academic homecoming, Fishman will work with students and faculty.
Image at right: NASA scientist Jack Fishman at his desk at NASA's Langley Research Center.
Since 1984, MU's College of Arts and Science has presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to outstanding graduates in recognition of professional contributions that enhance the arts and sciences and improve the quality of life for humankind.
Fishman graduated in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. As a student, he first became interested in air pollution while using the University of Missouri Research Reactor to analyze air samples in a study of trace elements emitted from smoke stacks.
His early research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., provided some of the fundamental framework leading to the current understanding of the origin of ozone in the lower atmosphere. In a 1978 paper co-authored with Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, they were the first to hypothesize that the global distribution of ozone near the Earth's surface has been significantly altered since the 19th century.
He has been at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., since 1979 and is the recipient of that agency's Medal of Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the highest award NASA bestows on its scientists.
One surprising finding of Fishman's pioneering research using satellites to map global pollution was the discovery of large amounts of ozone off the west coast of Africa. In 1992, he was mission scientist on an aircraft campaign of more than 200 scientists from 14 countries to study the origin of that pollution.
Most recently, he has been an advocate for ozone research on the international level. He serves on the World Meteorological Organization's Science Advisory Committee for ozone and is a United States representative to the Integrated Global Atmospheric Chemistry Observations Committee, that is working to coordinate global observations of trace gases.
Fishman is committed to educating students and the public about the significance of global pollution and has co-written two books on the subject for general audiences. The Weather Revolution, Innovations and Imminent Breakthroughs in Accurate Forecasting won the American Meteorological Society's Outstanding Author Award in 1997. In addition to an MU degree, Fishman received master's and doctoral degrees in meteorology from Saint Louis University.
Fishman is the third NASA employee to receive the honor. His brother, Gerald Fishman, received the award in 1994 as senior astrophysicist of the Space Sciences Laboratory and head of the gamma-ray astronomy team at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Astronaut Linda Godwin, a veteran of four space missions who works at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, received the award in 1990.
Among the many past recipients of alumni awards are Chris Cooper and Tom Berenger, stage and screen actors; Jim Fergason, inventor of the liquid crystal display (LCD) technology; Stuart Fraser, vice chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald; Kent Kreh, chairman of the board of Jenny Craig Inc. and former president and CEO of Weight Watchers; Gene Watts, trombonist and founder of the Canadian Brass; Mort Walker, creator of the Beetle Bailey comic strip; and Beryl Sprinkel, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Ronald Reagan.
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