Photo by: Justin Knight
Atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon, whose pioneering scientific and environmental policy work has helped to shape international agreements for healing the ozone layer and mitigating climate change, was named the recipient of the 2020-2021 James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award.
Solomon is the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Chemistry.
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Lecture description: The 1985 discovery of a massive hole in the Antarctic ozone layer shocked the world and led to remarkable changes in environmental science, public understanding, and policy. In this talk, atmospheric chemist Professor Susan Solomon—recognized by the Killian Award Selection Committee for her scientific contributions and her leadership in the policy aspects of climate change—will briefly summarize how scientific discoveries led to a new understanding of the chemistry that controls the ozone layer, our planet’s essential “sunscreen” against damaging ultraviolet light from the sun. She will also describe how the nations of the world came together in an international process that has now effectively phased out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals. Lastly, Professor Solomon will discuss some of the evidence that the ozone layer is slowly beginning to heal.
The 2021 Killian Lecture took place online at 4 pm EDT on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. All members of the MIT community were invited; no registration was required. Participants had the opportunity to submit questions for Professor Solomon during the lecture.