Susan Solomon received her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1977 and her PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1981. For most of her career, she has been a Research Chemist in what is now known as the Chemistry and Climate Processes Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, including service as Program Leader from 1988 to 2011. In 2011 she was named Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science at MIT. She was Head Project Scientist for the National Ozone Expedition at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and Co-Chair, Working Group 1, of the IPCC from 2002 to 2008.
Solomon has revolutionized understanding of atmospheric chemistry, particularly by studying ozone depletion at the poles and mid-latitudes. She is internationally recognized for her insights in explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone “hole” and for her leadership of Working Group 1. Her work was instrumental to the evidence base for the Montreal Protocol, which limited the production of ozone-depleting chemicals. She continues her work on the chemistry of the stratosphere and troposphere, and the coupling between chemistry and atmospheric physics. Her most current work is on the coupling between trace gases and the Earth’s climate system. She is the author or co-author of approximately 250 papers in the professional literature, and was named the third most highly cited geoscientist in the world during the 1990s by Science Watch.
She was the first woman to receive the AGU’s Macelwane Award in 1985, has received numerous honorary doctorates from leading universities, was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 1992, and is a 2004 Blue Planet Laureate. She is the author of a well-reviewed book for general audiences about the Scott expedition to the South Pole, The Coldest March.