Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards

Honoring Air Quality Achievements

This page last reviewed October 14, 2015

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The nomination period for the 2015 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards is open through December 1, 2015!

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How to Nominate
Download the nomination form for the instructions to submit your nomination.

Selection Process
The Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award Selection Committee will review nominations and select the 2015 award recipients.  Winners will be notified in early 2016.


Dr. Haagen-Smit in a lab

Since 2001, the California Air Resources Board has annually bestowed the distinguished Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards.  The awards are given to extraordinary individuals to recognize significant career accomplishments in at least one of these air quality categories: research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service.  Over the past 14 years there have been 40 acclaimed recipients.  In light of the global connection between air quality and climate change, the scope of the program has expanded to include an international focus and a focus on climate change science and mitigation.  Learn more about the past winners.

Who is Dr. Haagen-Smit?

The prestigious award program was named after Dr. Arie J. Haagen-Smit, a native of Utrecht in the Netherlands, who was a leader in developing air quality standards based on his research efforts. Dr. Haagen-Smit, known by many as the "father" of air pollution control, was a graduate of the University of Utrecht and a biochemistry professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena for 16 years before beginning his air pollution research in 1948. Through a series of experiments, he found that most of California's smog resulted from photochemistry (when exhaust from motor vehicles and industrial facilities react with sunlight to create ozone). This breakthrough is the foundation upon which today's nationwide air pollution standards are based. After serving for eight years as an original board member of ARB's predecessor, the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, Dr. Haagen-Smit became ARB's first chairman in 1968. In 1977, he died of lung cancer two months after the ARB laboratory in El Monte was dedicated in his name.

Dr. Haagen-Smit has been honored with another award program administered by Atmospheric Environment, a publication of original air pollution research and its applications. See more information on the Atmospheric Environment Haagen-Smit Prize and recent winners.

Dr. Haagen-Smit at his deskResources

Review information about the 2008 Annual Haagen-Smit Symposium which focused on the role of land use and transportation in meeting AB 32 requirements and achieving California’s vision of a low-carbon future.

For more information on Dr. Haagen-Smit visit these links:

For more information on ARB's Clean Air Awards, contact Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893.

Photos Courtesy of the Archives, California Institute of Technology