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Indian scientist wins Cozzarelli prize

india Updated: Mar 12, 2007 15:14 IST

Indian American scientist V Ramanathan along with economist Jeffrey Vincent and Maximilian Auffhammer share the prestigious Cozzarelli Paper of the Year Prize for 2007.

The paper written by Ramanathan, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist in collaboration with Vincent an economist in the Graduate School of International Affairs and Pacifc Studies and Auffhammer of UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources, shows that reductions of air pollution could create agricultural benefits in the world's poorest regions.

It was among the six papers awarded the Cozzarelli Paper of the Year Prize by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The winning paper, which appeared in the December four issue of PNAS, related trends in Indian rice production to the influence of climate trends from the 1960s through the 1990s.

It shows that atmospheric brown clouds and greenhouse gasses have reduced rice harvests in India.

Rice harvests increased dramatically in India during the "Green Revolution" of the 1960s and 1970s, making the country self-sufficient in its staple food.

Harvest growth has slowed since the mid-1980s, however, raising concerns that food shortages could recur in this densely populated developing nation, it said.

The paper authored by Auffhammer, Ramanathan and Vincent took the top honour in the Applied Biological, agricultural, and Environmental Sciences category.

"I discovered a whole new world," said Ramanathan, who has earned his bachelor's degree in 1965 from the Annamalai University in India, and his M.Sc in 1970 from the Indian Institute of Science.

"It was really amazing what new findings one can come to when one crosses disciplines. That was one of the most rewarding experiences."

An atmospheric scientist, Ramanathan focuses his research on global climate dynamics, the greenhouse effect, aerosols, clouds, and the earth radiation budget.

He has contributed more than 150 publications to journals and books.

Ramanathan is the Director of the Scripps/UCSD Center for Atmospheric Sciences and the co-chief scientist of the Asian Brown Cloud Project and the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), which led to the discovery of the South Asian brown haze and it radiative forcing.

He is widely recognised for his work in understanding the effects of trace gases, clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere. He was the first to demonstrate in 1975 that CFCs are major greenhouse gases.

The prize, named after Nick Cozzarelli, the late editor-in-chief of PNAS, will be presented at its Editorial Board Meeting on April 29, 2007, in Washington, DC.