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Susan Solomon

Susan Solomon
Born 1956 (age 53–54)
Chicago, Illinois
Citizenship United States
Fields Atmospheric Chemistry
Institutions National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Alma mater B.S. Illinois Institute of Technology, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Known for Ozone Studies
Notable awards National Medal of Science

Susan Solomon (born 1956 in Chicago)[1] is an atmospheric chemist working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.[2] Solomon was one of the first to propose chlorofluorocarbons as the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole.[2]

Solomon is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences, and the Academy of Sciences of France.[3]




Early life

Solomon began her interest in science as a child watching The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.[1] In high school she placed third in a national science fair, with a project that measured the percent of oxygen in a gas mixture.[1]

Solomon studied Chemistry at the Illinois Institute of Technology, receiving her B.S. in 1977.[4] She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981, where she specialized in atmospheric chemistry.[4]


Solomon married Barry Sidwell in 1988.[1]


Solomon is the head of the Chemistry and Climate Processes Group of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chemical Sciences Division.


The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition - Depicts the tale of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's failed 1912 Antarctic expedition, specifically applying the comparison of modern meteorological data with that recorded by Scott's expedition in an attempt to shed new light on the reasons for the demise of Scott's polar party.

The ozone hole

Solomon was chosen to lead the National Ozone Expedition to McMurdo Sound in Antarctica to investigate the hole in the ozone layer in 1986 and another in 1987.[2] Her team discovered higher levels of chlorine oxide than expected in the atmosphere, which had been released by the chlorofluorocarbons.[4]

Solomon also showed that volcanoes could accelerate the reactions caused by chlorofluorocarbons, and so increase the damage to the ozone layer.[4] Her work formed the basis of the U.N. Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to protect the ozone layer by regulating damaging chemicals.[1]

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Solomon served as one of the co-chairs of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[2]


  • 2008 - Great Medal of the Academy of Sciences of France
  • 2007 - Nobel Peace Prize (awarded jointly to Al Gore and all IPCC members)
  • 2004 - Blue Planet Prize[1]
  • 1999 - National Medal of Science[4]
  • 1994 - Antarctic glacier named in her honor



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