A place of honor

NCAR salutes its award-winning scientists and a distinguished alumnus

When afternoon sunlight pours into the Damon Room, it now illuminates the names of dozens of high-achieving NCAR scientists. They’re the center of attraction in a new exhibit recently installed along the north wall of the room.

The awards wall was officially unveiled during an afternoon ceremony on August 10 (view slideshow) that also toasted NCAR’s first Distinguished Scholar appointee: Guy Brasseur. Launched in May, the Distinguished Scholar program offers the highest honors that can be bestowed upon NCAR scientists who are either retired or in a part-time phased-retirement position. In rare instances, an appointment may also go to a preeminent scientist from another institution who retired from an equivalent position.

Roger Wakimoto and Guy Brasseur looking at the awards wall.
Roger Wakimoto and Guy Brasseur at the NCAR Awards Wall of Honor. View more photos from the August 10 ceremony.

“These appointments are as much an honor for NCAR as they are for the recipients,” says NCAR deputy director Maura Hagan. Each Distinguished Scholar holds a four-year renewable term in which she or he may receive non-salary funding (typically about $15,000 to $20,000 per year) to foster collaboration, mentorship, and other activities involving NCAR. More than one person may hold a Distinguished Scholar appointment at any given point.

During his two decades at NCAR, Guy directed ACD for nearly ten years and NESL for more than three years. He officially retired on July 1, but since mid-2009 Guy has been based in Hamburg as the founding director of the Climate Service Center. This initiative of the German government is bringing together specialists from a wide range of disciplines to tailor climate science for decision makers and the public.

“I really value NCAR—its science, its staff, and its role at the national and international levels,” said Guy at the ceremony. He challenged NCAR to serve as the leading node of a future global network of institutions that could exchange data, models, scientists, students, educators, and communicators. “When an institution is at the forefront, it has to remain ambitious,” he added.

Past and present colleagues of Guy, including UCAR president Rick Anthes, cited him as an exemplar of scholarship that goes beyond outstanding science. When Bob Serafin became NCAR director in 1989, he didn’t know Guy well. “I quickly recognized him as a highly creative, charismatic, and visionary leader,” said Bob. Along with steering development of the widely used MOZART model series (Model for Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers), Guy has authored or coauthored more than 175 peer-reviewed articles and five books.

Guy is one of more than 100 NCAR scientists from the last half century recognized on the Damon Room awards wall. Winners’ names are engraved on tiles and grouped by awarding institutions, including the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, and the national academies of science and engineering. The wall’s flexible design ensures plenty of room to salute NCAR’s future achievements. “I look forward to seeing many more names added to the wall,” said Peggy LeMone (NESL/MMM) at the opening ceremony.

Those successes reflect the entire institution, says NCAR director Roger Wakimoto. He praised the work of the administrators, technicians, and other staff who make NCAR science possible.

The awards wall itself was built by the Ohio-based firm Partners in Recognition. “They developed the design based on blueprints of the room, the furniture décor, the style of the building, and the view and light from the windows,” says Helen Moshak (NCAR Directorate). She and colleagues Cindy Worster and Carol Park compiled the list of honorees with help from administrators and scientists across the institution. “It was truly a team project,” says Helen.