UArizona's Sorooshian receives American Geophysical Union medal and fellowship

Armin Sorooshian and Samson Reiny on a stage

Armin Sorooshian, left, in an interview with NASA Earth Science News Editor Samson Reiny. Sorooshian has been the primary investigator on several grants funded by NASA and the Office of Naval Research.

Armin Sorooshian, a University of Arizona professor of chemical and environmental engineering and University Distinguished Scholar in the College of Engineering, has been awarded the American Geophysical Union's Joanne Simpson Medal for his research on airborne aerosol particles and their effects on climate.

The medal honors exceptional midcareer scientists who have made transformative scientific advances, demonstrated strong leadership and provided outstanding service to science and society.

Sorooshian also has been elected an AGU Fellow, an honor bestowed on only 0.1% of the 60,000 AGU members. Fellows are identified authorities who could advise government agencies and other organizations outside the earth and space sciences. Sorooshian's father, Soroosh Sorooshian, is also an AGU Fellow and was a faculty member in the College of Engineering from 1983 to 2003.

Armin Sorooshian

Armin Sorooshian

"As AGU's mission is to partly advance discovery in earth sciences and its benefit for humanity and the environment, I feel my research aligns perfectly, as the impacts of airborne particulates and clouds extend from health to climate," Sorooshian said. "Particles lead to the most deaths globally of any environmental cause, and the interactions between particles and clouds are a leading uncertainty in the understanding of climate change and rainfall patterns."

Sorooshian has been honored for his work on several occasions. AGU selected him for the Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award four years ago. He was also recognized with the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award in 2010. Sorooshian was the College of Engineering's da Vinci Fellow in 2018 and the Doctoral Dissertation Advisor Award recipient in 2022.

He has led several high-profile research projects, including a $30 million NASA-funded study investigating clouds over the western North Atlantic Ocean that have a critical role in our planet's energy balance. This year, a team led by Sorooshian won NASA's Group Achievement Award.

The broader impact of Sorooshian's work involves training the next generation of scientists to combat the challenges associated with aerosols and atmospheric studies.

The Joanne Simpson Medal is named after the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology. Simpson is known in the remote sensing and atmospheric sciences community as a mentor, coach and supporter of the leadership and research work in many field experiments.

Since 1919, the nonprofit AGU has provided a community and support to hundreds of thousands of researchers and enthusiasts in the fields of atmospheric, oceanic, space and earth sciences.

"Having been a student in the UArizona Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, I do not ever take for granted the education and opportunities my bachelor's degree here set me up for that got me to this point as a faculty member of the same department," Sorooshian said. "I feel very lucky having been a student here and to bring back some recognition to our department and college in the area of atmospheric sciences."

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