Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards

Honoring Air Quality Achievements

This page last reviewed June 24, 2014

Congratulations to the 2013 Clean Air Award Winners!

logo for haagen-smit clean air award

The 2013 Annual Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards were presented in Sacramento, California on April 24, 2014.

The 2013 award recipients are:

  • Dr. Barbara Finlayson-Pitts of the University of California, Irvine
  • Dr. James Lents of the International Sustainable Systems Research Center
  • Mr. Teruyuki Ohno of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation

Watch the video recording of the ceremony:


Beginning in 2001, the Air Resources Board (ARB) annually recognizes and honors outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions toward improving air quality through their lifetime commitment, perseverance, leadership, and innovation in the areas of research, environmental policy, science technology, public education, promotion of best practices in developing countries, or community service. Scientists, professors, legislators, activists, business leaders, and other esteemed persons in the air quality community have been previous winners. Learn more about the past winners.

Dr. Haagen-Smit in a labWho 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.


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