News Release

NSF, NSB Statement on Ralph J. Cicerone's passing at 73

Ralph J.  Cicerone

Ralph J. Cicerone
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November 8, 2016


Cicerone focused research community on environmental challenges

The National Science Foundation (NSF) mourns the sudden death of Ralph. J. Cicerone, president emeritus of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He was 73.

“The NSF community is deeply saddened by the loss of a brilliant atmospheric scientist and dedicated advocate for the environment,” NSF Director France Córdova said. “Ralph Cicerone was a change agent whose kindness and generosity in helping NSF will never be forgotten. Through his distinguished career, he remained determined to provide scientific advice and leadership to the halls of government.”

Cicerone was the 21st president of NAS, a position he held for more than 11 years. Before his career with NAS, he served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. His scientific contributions included pioneering research that showed the impact of man-made changes on Earth’s atmosphere.

“Ralph brought scientists together to address environmental challenges and worked tirelessly to share the science behind global change with decision makers and members of the public,” said Maria Zuber, chair of the National Science Board. “He worked to spur new discoveries and encourage policies to benefit people and our planet.”    

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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