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Charles Kolb

Class of 2016-17

Charles Kolb
Charles Kolb

Aerodyne Research Inc.
National Academy of Engineering
American Association for the Advancement of Science

A leader of one of the world’s most prominent research institutions specializing in atmospheric chemistry, air quality, and climate, Charles E. Kolb has conducted advanced research in atmospheric and environmental chemistry, combustion chemistry, chemical lasers, and the chemical physics of rocket and aircraft exhaust plumes.

Kolb launched Aerodyne’s programs to identify and measure the trace atmospheric gases and aerosols that lead to regional and global pollution, as well as to develop spectral-sensing techniques to gauge soil pollutants. He also designed laboratory programs that specify parameters required for atmospheric modeling and measuring trace species important in tropospheric, stratospheric, and mesospheric photochemistry.

He has developed and applied models of aircraft and rocket kinetics that are critical to assess how aerospace systems affect the chemical structure of the upper troposphere and stratosphere.

Kolb earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a master’s degree in physical chemistry in 1968 and a doctorate in physical chemistry in 1971, both from Princeton University.

After joining Aerodyne Research in 1971 as a senior research scientist, Kolb rose through the ranks to become president and CEO in 1985.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Kolb has served on several boards and committees dealing with atmospheric and environmental science issues for the federal government, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Research Council. Since 1991, he has chaired the Heterogeneous Processes Subpanel of NASA’s Panel for Chemical Kinetics and Photochemical Data Evaluation.

Kolb received the American Chemical Society’s Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology, the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society’s Henry A. Hill Memorial Award, Texas A&M University’s Harris Lectureship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hottel Lectureship, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s McElvain Lectureship.

He has published more than 230 archival journal articles and book chapters, and more than 250 reports, nonrefereed symposia papers, book reviews, invited commentaries, and policy papers. He owns three patents.

Kolb served as the atmospheric sciences editor of the journal Geophysics Research Letters from 1995 to 1999 and on the editorial advisory board of Environmental Science & Technology from 2011 to 2015.

As a Faculty Fellow in the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, Kolb will collaborate with faculty–researchers in the College of Geosciences.


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