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Smog Researcher Receives High Campus Award

Atmospheric Chemist Receives Faculty Research Lecturer Award

Award is recognition of Roger Atkinson’s leadership in air pollution research

(May 25, 2005)

Roger Atkinson

Roger Atkinson

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — May 25, 2005 — Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, Roger Atkinson has received the Faculty Research Lecturer 2006 award, the highest honor the Academic Senate of the University of California, Riverside can bestow on a faculty member.

The award decision was announced at the spring meeting of the UC Riverside Academic Senate on May 24. Atkinson is scheduled to receive the award at the Graduate Division commencement ceremony on June 10 and will give a one-hour public lecture in the spring of 2006.

“The international impact of Dr. Atkinson’s research on the field of atmospheric chemistry has helped define the direction in which his colleagues explore the effects of air pollution and the behavior of pollutants. That influence continues to the present day,” said UCR Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ellen Wartella. “Such impact and influence deserve to be recognized and appreciated, and we are proud to make this acknowledgement of his contributions, both to the field and to our academic family.”

A native of Scarborough England, Atkinson joined the then-Statewide Air Pollution Research Center at UCR in 1972 and became director of the Air Pollution Research Center in 1996. The center was established in 1961 to conduct basic and applied research into the formation and effects of photochemical pollution. Atkinson received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Cambridge University in 1969.

Atkinson is an internationally recognized leader in the study of gas-phase reactions of organic compounds in the atmosphere, or how organic compounds in the atmosphere — the product of sources such as pesticides, and industrial and vehicle exhaust — become smog and change over time, and how long they remain in the atmosphere.

The Faculty Research Lecturer Award is bestowed by the Academic Senate of UC Riverside on a faculty member who has had an outstanding and distinguished record in research, and whose work has made an impact on the discipline, according to Harry Green, distinguished professor of geology and geophysics and chair of the Academic Senate’s Committee on the Faculty Research Lecturer.
“Being chosen the Faculty Research Lecturer at a UC campus is the highest honor the faculty of that campus can bestow on a colleague,” said Manuela Martins-Green, president of the Academic Senate at UCR.

“The committee that evaluates the nominees each year and selects one to recommend to the (full) Senate as the Faculty Research Lecturer for the coming year is composed only of previous recipients of this award” said Martins-Green. “Thus, Professor Atkinson has been chosen by a committee of those who have been selected for this honor in the past and therefore represent the highest level of distinction of our faculty.”

Atkinson’s body of work includes more than 400 published papers and book chapters. He has participated in more than 100 state, national and international committees, panels, or review boards, and has acquired research grants, alone or with colleagues, totaling $13 million.

Since 2001, the Institute of Scientific Information, a worldwide leader in scientific databases, has regarded him as a highly cited scholar in four disciplines; engineering, chemistry, ecology/environment and geosciences.

The journal Atmospheric Environment bestowed its Haagen-Smit Award on Atkinson in 2001 for having published the most important paper in that journal’s history. In 2002, he received the American Chemical Society award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology. In 2004, Atkinson received the California Air resources Board’s Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award for the impact of his 30 years of work on the formation of photochemical air pollution.

His fellowships include one to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997 and to the American Geophysical Union this year.

Atkinson said his nomination for the award was “a real honor…and a complete surprise.” He said he’s enjoyed investigating pollution and its solutions, from the nitrate radical reaction of the 1980s to the ozone reactions of the 1990s to today’s pollutants and their effects on global climate patterns. He’s optimistic about the future, however, noting that air quality has been improving steadily in recent years.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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