Stephen Schwartz Receives International Aerosol Fellow Award

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Stephen Schwartz, senior scientist emeritus at Brookhaven National Laboratory and adjunct professor at Stony Brook University

Stephen Schwartz, a senior scientist emeritus at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, has received the International Aerosol Research Assembly's (IARA) 2020 International Aerosol Fellow Award. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions to aerosol science and technology through research, technical development, education, and service.

The aerosols Schwartz has studied for decades are tiny particles in Earth's atmosphere. They are essential in the formation of clouds and create climate-cooling effects, because they reflect energy that "pours down" from the sun back out to space. Some aerosols occur naturally, for example, haze and particles from sea spray and forest fires. Others are created from human activities, importantly from emissions created by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Understanding more about aerosols and the processes they affect is helping scientists determine the extent human activity has increased aerosol levels in the atmosphere. Scientists' findings are also helping them recognize aerosols' specific roles in the global energy budget—the total amounts of energy entering and exiting Earth and its atmosphere—and impacts on global and regional climates.

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The International Aerosol Research Assembly recognized Schwartz for his high-profile, highly cited research as well as his leading role on the team that established DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Research Facility, his leadership in national and international measurement campaigns, and more.

Aerosol research has other important applications such as determining how air pollution impairs human health and how diseases like COVID-19 spread. Aerosol research has also helped improve industrial processes and national security.

"The motivations of aerosol research have evolved in my four decades as a scientist, from air quality to acid rain to climate change," Schwartz said. "I am most grateful to Brookhaven National Laboratory and DOE for their continued support over the years, and to IARA for this award." 

When selecting him for the award, the IARA's committee recognized Schwartz for high-profile, highly cited papers on atmospheric aerosols, cloud chemistry, and their impact on Earth’s radiation budget and climate. The committee noted Schwartz's lead role on the team that established DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Research Facility. The citation recognized his leadership in national and international measurement campaigns. It also cited Schwartz as a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and key contributor to many national and international committees on aerosols and climate.

The IARA's International Aerosol Fellow Award is given every two years to one or two honorees. Yoshio Otani, vice president for international affairs and professor at Kanazawa University in Japan, was also named a 2020 awardee.

A bit more about Schwartz

Schwartz, a resident of Center Moriches, joined Brookhaven Lab in 1975. He rose through the ranks to senior scientist, and is now a senior scientist emeritus in the Lab's Environmental & Climate Sciences Department. Schwartz is also an adjunct professor for Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Schwartz has authored or coauthored over 140 journal articles and book chapters, 300 proceedings and abstracts, and more than 40 reports and reviews. He coauthored the book, "Sea Salt Aerosol Production: Mechanisms, Methods, Measurements and Models," with fellow Brookhaven scientist Ernie Lewis, and edited two other books.

He served as chief scientist of DOE’s Atmospheric Science Program from 2004 to 2009 and was presented with DOE's Outstanding Leadership Award in 2010.

Before joining Brookhaven, Schwartz earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Harvard College in 1963 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968. He was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow and Ramsay memorial fellow at the University of Cambridge in England from 1968 to 1969. He also served on the faculty of the Chemistry Department at Stony Brook University from 1969 to 1975.

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