Haagen-Smit Clean Air AwardsHonoring Air Quality Achievements
This page last reviewed February 24, 2016
The winners of the 2015 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards will be announced and honored in May 2016.
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
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:
- Dr. Arie J. Haagen-Smit on Wikipedia
- The National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs of Dr. Haagen-Smit
- A Lesson from the Smog Capital of the World by A.J. Haagen-Smit (October 1970)
- Arie Jan Haagen-Smit by James N. Pitts, Jr. and Edgar R. Stephens (published in the Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association, Volume 28 1978)
- I can see (more) clearly now article about John Seinfeld (2003 Clean Air Award winner) that includes photos and background with Arie Haagen-Smit in Caltech's Engineering & Science Magazine, Fall 2012.
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