Professor Markku Kulmala’s pioneering scientific work recognised

The Fuchs Memorial Award has been awarded to Markku Kulmala, Professor of Aerosol and Environmental Physics.

Professor Markku Kulmala’s pioneering scientific work recognised

The Fuchs Memorial Award is the most important prize in the world in aerosol science, and Markku Kulmala is the first Finn to be awarded the prize.

He has published articles on atmospheric aerosol particles, clouds and the interaction between forests and the atmosphere, and in May 2010 he became the first Finn to be ranked third on the list of most cited scientists in the world in the field of geosciences research.

Kulmala’s studies have highlighted a major source of particulate matter: the nucleation of atmospheric vapour. Nucleation refers to a change in state, the first stage of the gas-to-particle conversion in which the first beginnings of a liquid or solid state are created from supersaturated vapour.

Before the observations made by Kulmala and his research group, the significance of nucleation in relation to the quantities of particulate matter and the climate was presumed to be minor. However, nucleation is now considered one of the most important sources of particulate matter.

Kulmala is not only a pioneer in performing and interpreting long-term atmospheric measurements but also in developing the theory on nucleation. As a result of the work carried out by the research group under his direction, climate and air quality model forecasts have improved considerably.

The prize, which is awarded every four years, is named after the Russian scientist Professor Nikolai Albertovich Fuchs (1895–1982). Fuchs is considered to be the father of aerosol research, and the prize is given in recognition of pioneering fundamental scientific work.

Kulmala has previously been awarded the Finnish Science Prize in 2003, the International Aerosol Fellow Award by the International Aerosol Research Assembly in 2004, and the European Geosciences Union’s Bjerknes Medal in 2007. In 2005, Stockholm University bestowed an honorary doctorate on him and the University of Tartu bestowed an honorary doctorate on him in 2008.

Kulmala is Chair of the iLEAPS international research project on the atmosphere and global change. He is director of the Centre of Excellence in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Meteorology of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change at the University of Helsinki.

Text: Minna Meriläinen
Photo: University of Helsinki
6.9.2010
Translation: AAC Global
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