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UCR Chemist Honored for Environmental Research

UCR Chemist Honored for Environmental Research

(September 20, 2001)

The American Chemical Society has announced that Roger Atkinson, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, Riverside, will receive the society’s National Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology for 2002.

The announcement appeared in the Aug. 27 issue of the American Chemical Society’s Journal “Chemical & Engineering News.” The award will be presented at the society’s April 2002 national meeting in Orlando, Fla.

The award recognizes Atkinson’s more-than three decades of research into how the breakdown of organic compounds react in the atmosphere to contribute to air pollution, said Walter J. Farmer and Michael Rettig, chairs respectively of the departments of Environmental Sciences and Chemistry at UCR. Organic compounds, commonly found in vehicle exhaust and plant emissions, are a key component in the formation of photochemical smog.

Atkinson’s research has provided scientists a better understanding of how such compounds behave. It has shed light on their involvement in the transportation of long-lived compounds to remote parts of the globe and their possible role in the depletion of the Earth’s protective ozone layer, Farmer added.

“We’re one of maybe a half dozen major research centers in the world on this,” said Atkinson, who is the director of the Air Pollution Research Center at UCR.

In addition to groundbreaking research, Atkinson, a UCR professor since 1972, has developed calculations for predicting the lifetimes of organic compounds, methods used widely by industry and regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe.

He was one of a dozen researchers from UCR selected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997, the second year in which UCR received the most fellowships of any university in the United States. The honor is considered one of the most prestigious in the scientific community.

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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