(recorded in 2002)
Susan Solomon is widely recognized as one of the leaders in the field of atmospheric science. Her scientific papers have provided not only key measurements, but also theoretical understanding regarding ozone destruction, especially the role of surface chemistry. In 1986 and 1987, she served as the Head Project Scientist of the National Ozone Expedition at McMurdo Station, Antarctica and made some of the first measurements there that pointed towards chlorofluorocarbons as the cause of the ozone hole. In 1994, an Antarctic glacier was named in her honor in recognition of that work. Since receiving her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981, she has been employed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a research scientist. She is currently an Adjoint Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences of the University of Colorado.
Listen to the Interview (requires free RealPlayer software):
Susan Solomon talks about how she first got interested in science and her early study experiences. (10 minutes)
Solomon discusses going to graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, while doing some of her thesis work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. She also describes the numerical models she worked on to explain the chemistry in the upper regions of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. (10 minutes)
Solomon describes how the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985 changed her career and her life. She discusses her work on understanding the cause of the formation of the ozone hole and talks about leading the first Antarctic expedition to study it. (10 minutes)
Solomon continues her discussion about the ozone hole and how it is caused entirely by human activity. She also explains that she believes science should inform and contribute to the decision making process, but should not dominate it. (10 minutes)
Solomon discusses the ozone depletion phenomenon, as well as global warming. (8 minutes)
Solomon describes her brief foray into a management role as the head of the atmospheric chemistry division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. She then describes the work she continued to better understand the ozone hole and explains how chlorofluorocarbons are virtually indestructible molecules. (9 minutes)
Solomon discusses her current work, including her role as co-chair of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, providing scientific information to the United Nations. She comments that she enjoys being a bridge between the science community and the policy community. (6 minutes)
Last Updated: 07-26-2004
The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.